DELIVERING CHRISTMAS TO OUR TROOPS
YMCA of Orange County Helps Spread Holiday Cheer to Our Military Personnel Overseas
Stockings for the Troops is a YMCA of Orange County initiative that not only brings members of the community together for a great cause, but also pays tribute to the service men and women across oceans who cannot be with their families this Christmas. Approximately 750 festive stockings were stuffed with items: granola bars, cup of noodles, gum, candy, and other snack goods that give the troops a little taste of home during the holidays.
Items were collected from generous supporters who dropped off their donations at YMCA afterschool care sites and Starbucks locations in Huntington Beach. All of the donations were then relocated to the Peterson Family YMCA and Moffett Family YMCA where students helped stuff hundreds of Christmas stockings and prepared them for shipment. To make the gifts even that much more meaningful, every stocking included a hand written note from a YMCA afterschool participant, letting the recipient know how much they appreciate their service.
“Contributing to service learning projects like Stockings for the Troops is an amazing opportunity for the kids in our YMCA afterschool programs. It gives them a chance to do something special and meaningful for someone they won’t ever meet, but also helps them to understand what it means for people to serve our country and the sacrifices they make for us, especially during the Holidays,” says Tricia Quinn, Director of Childcare Operations.
The annual event is also made possible by the generous work of Words of Comfort Hope and Promise, which has been serving those in the U.S. Armed Forces and their families with outreach support since 2004. The non-profit organization covers the distribution costs associated with getting all of the stockings to our troops by Christmas. The first of many care packages recently arrived in Okinawa and Cynthia Martinez, President and CEO of Words of Comfort Hope and Promise, received the following message from Lt. General Nicholson of the Unites States Marine Corps:
“Many thanks, you are truly bringing joy to our world…You and your team are making many young Marines and Sailors in Okinawa very happy this Christmas season… Merry Christmas to you and the many amazing Santa’s helpers you have on your team.”
Here’s a short clip of the stocking stuffing party and some of the troops getting their Christmas treats.
The Tradition of Stockings for the Troops launched in 2006 by a Peterson Elementary YMCA volunteer. Jasmina Muller’s husband was deployed to the border in San Diego with the border patrol agents and she wanted to provide him and other service members a nice Thanksgiving dinner since they were away from home. From then on, the project developed significantly with more community involvement today than ever before.
If you or your organization would like to contribute to this project, please make a tax-deductible donation to Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise that will greatly help with shipping.
See pictures from this year’s Stocking for the Troops, where kids and volunteers were hard at work stuffing the stockings.
Read the full press release here.
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