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Stockings brighten holidays for troops

Christmas will be a little bit merrier for Chilton County service men and women stationed overseas.

A second-annual Stockings for Soldiers drive is now underway. Last year, 400 stockings, filled with goodies, were sent to local troops in Iraq and Kuwait.

Stockings and supplies for stockings may be left at First United Methodist Church in Clanton during business hours. Money to help pay for postage, which cost about $1,200 last year, is also needed.

The last day to contribute stockings or supplies is Monday, Nov. 23.

Stephanie Gibson is helping organize the drive again this year. Last year, her son, Chad, was stationed in Iraq. He is back home this year.

“It was lonely. We were worried, but we never lost our faith in God to take care of our son,” said Gibson. “Once you have a son or daughter who has been there, you feel an emotional bond with all the others, whether you know them or not.”

Gibson said the stocking drive, while affiliated with the church, is truly a community-wide project.

“It’s a collection of people. It’s no one organization — the church is just the drop-off place,” said Gibson.

Many people choose to make their own stockings, but items to stuff the stockings with may also be left at the church.

Items to put in the stockings include:

-Gum, Lifesavers and hard candy.

-Power bars, protein bars, beef jerky, nuts and trail mix.

-Single serving drink mix.

-Canned sardines, smoked oysters, ravioli, other small canned ready-to-eat foods and Ramen noodles.

-Playing cards, yo-yos and tennis balls.

-Chap stick and alcohol- free waterless hand cleaner.

-Disposable cameras and movie DVDs (new or used, originals only).

-Cotton socks (white) and sock hats (dark colors).

For more information about the stocking drive, call Gibson at 755-8270.