Stewart's kicks off Holiday Match Thanksgiving Day

SARATOGA SPRINGS The community will again have the opportunity to make their donations go a little bit further as Stewarts Shops once hosts its annual Stewarts Holiday Match program. The program will match individual donations made at all Stewarts Shops locations from Thanksgiving Day through Christmas Day, with all funds raised going to charity no administrative costs will be deducted. The purpose of the Stewarts Holiday Match is to encourage individual giving and broaden the base of support for local charities. Stewarts Holiday Match program director Amy Potter said the corporation, its media sponsors and customers contributed $1.2 million to various organizations last year. The program has raised more than $11 million since it began in 1986, she added. We have a lot of great customers who donate to the program annually and who understand the importance of helping the kids of our communities, said Potter. Peru Free Library is among the list of past recipients, having been funded for the last three years in a row. Library director Rebecca Pace said the funding has helped bring professional talent to the library for a number of its programs. The Storycrafters, an internationally renowned husband-and-wife storytelling team, and a former juggler for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are among the acts the library has been able to attract, said Pace. We have some rather exceptional programs here in the summer that bring in 60 to 100 children for each performance, she said. The [Stewarts Holiday Match] is important because it can help us bring in more acts like these. What Pace also likes about the Holiday Match program is the fact that it takes community involvement for it to work. The more money people donate, the more thats ultimately raised. It is a community effort, Pace said. And, the important thing about Stewarts is its a local organization and its a place everybody knows. [The program] is a wonderful thing. Local organizations benefiting children that are interested in receiving funding may pick up an application throughout the holidays at any Stewarts Shop. All groups applying must be locally-based, benefit children younger than 18 and be a qualified, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2009; funding will be distributed in March. For more information, visit the Stewarts Shop Web site at www.stewartsshops.com.

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