Stockings spread cheer to soldiers abroad

Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Soldiers from Chilton County serving overseas will receive a bit of home and holiday cheer again this year.

Stockings For Soldiers has begun its fourth annual donation drive to provide Christmas stockings for service men and women stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Stephanie Gibson of Clanton is spearheading the drive she created four years ago, when her son, Chad, was serving in Iraq.

“It’s very near and dear to my heart,” Gibson said. “Those boys over there on the battlefield have it rough, and it’s just a little bit of home for them.”

Gibson said volunteers sent almost 400 stockings the first year, but the sky is the limit each year.

“I’m hoping next year, we can say we’ve sent over 1,000 stockings from Chilton County,” Gibson said. “We’re just going to keep doing it as long as people keep helping with it.

Filled stockings, stocking stuffers, Christmas cards and monetary donations for shipping expenses can be dropped off at Clanton First United Methodist Church.

Stockings or items for stockings should be donated no later than Nov. 21, and postage donations are due by Nov. 28.

Gibson said appropriate stocking stuffers include candy, chewing gum, granola bars, playing cards, beef jerky, trail mix, yoyos and small Bibles.

Items such as perishable foods, aerosol sprays, glass and liquids will not be sent.

Stockings For Soldiers places a Bible verse in every stocking, and one year, volunteers sent money left over from postage expenses to another organization that provided socks and pajamas for wounded soldiers.

“It’s hard for those guys to not be home at Christmas,” Gibson said. “We want these guys to know not just our love but God’s love for them.”

For more information or to make a donation, call Stephanie Gibson (205) 755-8270.