Crouch Funeral Home col­lect­ing stock­ings for sol­diers

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Crouch Funeral Home is look­ing to fill more than 1,200 stock­ings to bring Christ­mas cheer to lo­cal ser­vice­men and women serv­ing over­seas along with lo­cal vet­er­ans.

“It’s re­ally grown in the eight years we’ve done it,” said Patty De­Mond, ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant, of this be­ing the busi­ness’s eighth year col­lect­ing items.

Last year, 1,172 stock­ings were sent over­seas to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq, and to Perry Point VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter, De­Mond said.

Stock­ings are avail­able for pickup at the busi­ness, lo­cated at 127 S. Main St. in North East, Mon­day through Fri­day from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., De­Mond said.

Stock­ings must be re­turned by 4: 30 p. m. Mon­day, Dec. 5, De­Mond said. This is to en­sure they have enough time to pack­age the stock­ings and so Mail­bag Plus has time to process the orders and ship the boxes of

NORTH EAST

stock­ings so the sol­diers re­ceive them by Christ­mas.

As of Wed­nes­day, more than 1,100 stock­ings had been handed out and about 160 had been re­turned, De­Mond said, not­ing that more stock­ings are re­turned af­ter Thanks­giv­ing be­cause peo­ple are shop­ping.

Stock­ings sug­ges­tions in­clude items such as socks, tooth­paste, tooth­brushes and high-en­ergy food items such as pro­tein bars and tea bags, or puz­zle books, among other items, De­Mond said. Glass and aerosols are not al­lowed be­cause they can­not be shipped, she added.

“We make sure that each stock­ing has a card in it,” De­Mond said. “Or a lot of the school chil­dren will do pic­tures and let­ters and we’ll put those in there. But we make sure each stock­ing has at least one card or one let­ter from a school child in it to make it more per­sonal.”

Ex­tra items are usu­ally dropped off, in ad­di­tion to the stock­ings, De­Mond noted and those items are gath­ered up and a day is held to stuff more stock­ings. Oth­ers also do­nate money, which goes to­ward pur­chas­ing items for the hol­i­day stock­ings.

De­Mond re­cently picked up 250 ad­di­tional stock­ings and, of those, about 200 are left. She said peo­ple who would like to re­trieve a stock­ing should not worry about the busi­ness run­ning out of stock­ings.

“We have about 200 now and we can get more at any time,” De­Mond said. She said peo­ple are wel­come to take more than one stock­ing.

“They’re wel­come to take as many as they’d like, one, two, 10,” De­Mond said.

In the past, the stock­ings have gen­er­ated a big re­sponse and Crouch has re­ceived let­ters, emails and even a flag that was flown in Afghanistan and sent to the funeral home in their honor of their ef­forts.

“They’re just thrilled to death. A lot of them say that they just don’t re­ceive things and it’s hard for them to be away from home, so it’s won­der­ful for them to get some­thing,” De­Mond said. “We usu­ally get at least two or three re­sponses ev­ery year.”

De­Mond said she is look­ing for names of the lo­cal ser­vice­men and women, the ad­dress of where the per­son is lo­cated, how many are in their de­ploy­ment or pla­toon and the gen­der of the re­cip­i­ents.

“We’d love to get ad­dresses of lo­cal ser­vice­men and women first and then we go from there,” De­Mond said.

She said stock­ings are also given to lo­cal vet­er­ans, as well.

For those would like to pick up a stock­ing, vol­un­teer to help stuff stock­ings or do­nate money, con­tact De­Mond at 410- 2876166.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

There were more than 60 stuffed stock­ings in front of the fire­place in Crouch Funeral Home as of Nov.18.

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