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