This year marks the 15th Stockings for Soldiers Campaign to provide some holiday cheer to the brave men and women in uniform serving their country halfway around the world.
It began when a soldier’s parents discovered that many of those serving did not receive anything for the holidays. So they set out to make sure that any soldier who wanted one would get a stocking. Last year, 1,350 boxes, weighing 46,000 pounds, filled with almost 10,000 individually addressed stockings, 2,000 small fleece blankets and 500 knitted hats were sent.
The program’s success depends upon hundreds of volunteers who assemble the stockings and countless others who contribute the supplies. The program is centered in Wilmington, but Sussex County residents have been active over the past few years. Local groups have included the Henlopen Landing Community Association, The First Town Club, VIA of Rehoboth Beach, Zwaanendael Women’s Club, Sussex Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, The Glade Quilting Ladies and many individuals. Also, the congregations of St. Jude the Apostle Church of Lewes, the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist of Milton and the Felton-Viola United Methodist Church of Felton generously contributed.
The stocking stuffers include candy, nuts, Beanie Babies to give to local kids, black crew socks, used paperback books, beef jerky and more. A complete list can be found at www.stockingsforsoldiers.org. Also on the website are more information about the program and moving notes from the grateful soldiers. In addition, tax-deductible financial contributions are requested to pay for shipping to the individual sites.
For more information for any group or individual interested in contributing, contact Sussex coordinators Marianne and Carl Sheran at 302-547-6878. Donations can be accepted until Saturday, Nov. 17. Transportation of the donated items to Wilmington will be provided.