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Groups pitch in for Empty Stocking Fund
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A few local service organizations came together this weekend to collect almost $10,000 worth of donated toys, making it possible for some local needy children to wake up to a surprise under the Christmas tree.

The toy donation Dec. 8 was part of the annual Empty Stocking Fund, hosted by Rockdale Emergency Relief.

The Rotary Club of Rockdale County and the Rotary Club of Conyers teamed up with Girl Scout Troop 544 and the Interact Clubs at Salem and Rockdale County High Schools to collect the donated toys.

More than 200 children from 89 families will receive toys from this year's Empty Stocking Fund, according to RER director Andy Peabody.

In addition to Sunday's toy donation, the Conyers Riding Association held a Christmas Toy Ride Dec. 7 to help RER.

Peabody said the riders collected more toys for needy families and raised more than $7,000 to support RER's mission.

"This weekend was a great introduction to how RER partners with others in the community at Christmas time," Peabody said. "We want to celebrate all of the partners in the community who joined hands at this time of year to make others' lives a bit brighter."