The Empty Stocking Fund (ESF) brings joy to the lives of disadvantaged children by providing toys and gifts during the holiday season and other core essential supplies throughout the year to support positive social and emotional development and academic success.

Through relationships with wholesale distributors and in-kind donations from trusted corporations, the Empty Stocking Fund acquires brand new items in sufficient quantities to offer a variety of age- and gender-appropriate holiday gift choices and core school supplies.

In December, we invite parents and guardians of children(birth to 12 years old) that qualify for benefits through the state of Georgia to shop for gifts for their children.

During back to school season and we provide school supplies to teachers and students of local Title 1 schools(schools with 80% or more of their students receiving free or reduced meals).

The Empty Stocking Fund only has four full-time employees. Without the generous support of our corporate sponsors, individual donors, and volunteers, none of this would be possible. There are several ways to support the Empty Stocking Fund’s fundraising efforts and all donations are tax-deductible.



The Empty Stocking Fund is started by a small group of employees of The Atlanta Georgian, the predecessor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The Empty Stocking Fund joins forces with the Atlanta Junior Chamber of Commerce, who take on the responsibility of conducting the annual drive


The Unorganized Cheerful Givers from WSB Radio begin providing gifts to needy children


The Atlanta Georgian merges with The Atlanta Journal and WSB Radio; WSB’s Unorganized Cheerful Givers joins forces with The Empty Stocking Fund


The Empty Stocking Fund opens its first toy store where parents can shop for their children’s Christmas gifts


The Empty Stocking Fund expands reach with the addition of a school supply distrbution program.

  • I am a single parent of two boys. I work at a daycare making $9.50/hr. I have rent to pay, water, lights, phone, and a car note. I wasn't able to save anything. Santa’s Village was and still is important to me, because it gives my kids a sense of hope and the assurance that Santa hasn’t forgotten about them.”
  • "I’m a single mom of four with two jobs. Without ESF my kids would not have gotten any gifts.”
  • “ESF has been here every single year for my grandkids, and I appreciate them so very much because sometimes it was all that they got.”
  • I was a single mother of three children fleeing domestic violence. My spirits were down and I was so focused on rebuilding that I didn’t care about Christmas until I met with my social worker and she referred me to The Empty Stocking Fund. It relieved so much stress and made my kids so happy!”
  • "ESF helps me put a smile on my kid’s face!”
  • “The experience far exceeded my expectations. The staff was friendly and extremely helpful, and everyone made me feel welcome. The selection was of excellent quality and was given in generous proportion. Thank you for helping my family during such a hard time."


Along with the generous support of our donors and volunteers, The Empty Stocking Fund functions smoothly thanks to the hard, unfailing work of our team members who are passionate about helping children in our community.

Manda Hunt


Manda has nearly 20 years of marketing communications and public relations experience from companies like Jackson Spalding, MagnetBank and even her own PR company. She began working with The Empty Stocking Fund in 2004, and in 2010, she took over as executive director. Each year, Manda fearlessly leads The Empty Stocking Fund toward success, from budgeting and financial reporting to toy and gift sourcing to volunteer coordination and fundraising. Originally from the Tampa Bay area, Manda has lived in Atlanta since 2000 and is an avid (and admittedly obnoxious) Florida State Seminoles fan.

Jill Arnold


Jill joined The Empty Stocking Fund team in the spring of 2020. She is a seasoned professional with 15 plus years of volunteer services, sales, and marketing experience through her work with the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Red Bull North America, Inc., and other organizations. She is passionate about community engagement and social justice. In her free time, she loves to laugh out loud (often) and walk the Atlanta Beltline.

Missy Rooker


Missy has over 15 years of experience in education, ranging from teaching in the classroom to administration positions. She joined The Empty Stocking Fund team in 2014 as a volunteer and transitioned to her current position in 2017. Missy forges financial partnerships with our local corporations and foundations, as well as coordinating corporate volunteer groups. While traveling the globe as a military wife, Missy worked with numerous volunteer teams. She has enjoyed serving alongside each of these groups, but thinks The Empty Stocking Fund volunteers are the BEST!

Branda James


Brenda retired in 2001 from BellSouth with 32 years of service. She worked in various jobs during her tenure with BellSouth, including administrative and accounting positions. She has given back to the community through 25+ years of volunteer service with BellSouth and 10 years with Gwinnett Medical Hospital. Brenda joined The Empty Stocking Fund in 2005 as a seasonal employee and is an integral part of the ESF team. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her grandchildren!!


The Empty Stocking Fund is governed by an independent board of directors comprised of community and business leaders representing Atlanta’s most prominent and highly respected organizations.

Directors serve as the guardians and stewards of the organization, ensuring our mission is carried out as articulated in our Articles of Incorporation and that all financial activities are legal and proper according to federal and state requirements. They set the course for the organization from year-to-year by establishing broadly stated goals and objectives, supporting the organization’s fundraising activities and enhancing our public image.


Jennifer Cowart, Chairman

Senior Labor & Employment Counsel Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Sandeep Kharidhi, Vice Chairman

General Manager, Data and Analytics Platforms Deluxe

Joseph Manusakis, Treasurer

Partner – KPMG, LLP

Beth Little, Secretary

Director PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP


W. Benjamin Barkley

Corporate Partner – Kilpatrick, Townsend & Stockton, LLP

David Bell

Regional Sales Manager, Treasury Management – Wells Fargo

Sarah Blackmon

Director, Supplier Quality and Safety – Chick-fil-A

Barry Boniface

Partner – MSouth Equity Partners

Karin Bursa

Founder & CEO – NIRAKIO

Stephanie Crawford

Manager, Asset Protection – The Home Depot

Nate Cunningham

Owner/Consultant – Cunningham Consulting Services, LLC

Justin Elanjian

Partner – Aprio

Bill Falconer

Founder & CEO – Live Oak Caregivers

Alvin Glymph

Director of Grants and Partnerships – DeKalb County Schools

Michael Hollingsworth

Managing Partner, Atlanta – Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough LLP

Kristine Jordan

Executive Director – Jabian Consulting

Brian Nealon

Director, IT Audit & Compliance – Genuine Parts Company

Beth Paschetto

VP, Business Delivery, CRS Products – InterContinental Hotels Group

James Stevens

Corporate & Banking Partner – Troutman Sanders

C. J. Stewart

Co-founder – L. E. A. D.

Steve Stone

Senior Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer – North America – Accenture

Bala Sundaramoorthy

Vice President and General Manager – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Bill Vogel

President and CEO – Montag & Caldwell

Faith Walker

Residential Customer Service Manager – Georgia Power/Southern Company


The Empty Stocking Fund is counseled by an advisory board comprised of community and business leaders representing Atlanta’s most prominent and highly respected organizations.


Darryl Lesure

Manager, Supply Chain – Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Dennis Lockhart

Monica Kaufman Pearson

Kevin Riley

Editor-in-Chief – The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rachel Sprecher

Executive Director, Office of Partnerships and Development – Atlanta Public Schools

Will Williams

National Managing Partner, Tax – KPMG, LLP/p>