September 29, 2020

By KELSEY HEELEY

Organizers of the Stuff In Stockings campaign hope 1,000 stockings will be donated this year.

The charity hopes the stockings will make Christmas happier for local needy children and youth.

Stuff In Stockings founder, Carolyn Parks, came up with the idea back in 2010 out of her own love for stockings as a child.

“Stockings were always my favourite part of Christmas,” she said.

When she started, Parks, of St. Jacobs, just wanted to make a difference and donate some filled stockings. She emailed a few of her friends asking if they were interested in helping out, which they were. By the end of the emailing, she had about 40 other stockings.

Her husband called the Waterloo Region Record and they wrote a story about it, after which Quarry Communications got involved, donating 100 filled stockings to the cause.

After about two weeks, Parks had approximately 250 stuffed stockings to donate. It was then she realized this had legs.

In 2011, Parks registered Stuff In Stockings as an official charity. Quarry Communications donated again last year, along with other companies that had gotten on board such as the St. Jacobs Lions Club, Simply Hearing, Steve’s TV and KW Corner Stone. Last year, the charity handed out 750 stockings.

This year the charity has even more companies willing to donate and help out with the cause such as Grand River Karate which is having a collections day to gather stocking stuffer items. The Perimeter Institute is also on board this year, providing funds. Other companies helping out include All Things Tea, Whitney and Company Realty, The Shops at Waterloo Town Square and Fibernetics.

“Quarry Communications is still one of our biggest supporters,” Parks said. “They’re amazing; they asked us for a breakdown of where their stockings could go. They also asked about age and gender. When we go to pick up the stockings, they’re sitting in the lobby labelled to make our jobs a little easier when it comes down to crunch time.”

This year Stuff In Stockings is putting a huge focus on stockings for teenagers, ages 13 and up. Parks said it’s generally easier to find stocking stuffers for children than for teenagers, so they sometimes get overlooked.

Ariel Grady, 22, who started donating in 2011, said, “Last year I put together some stockings for young children. It wasn’t too hard to find simple things for them like cards, kid’s books, colouring books and crayons. Teenagers though, seem like they would be a bit more of a challenge.”

To make filling stockings for teens easier, Parks recommends necessities such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, hats, scarves and mitts.

“There are practical and pleasurable items. So, because teenagers are people, they’ll want to have some fun too. For girls, I’d suggest a journal, pens and gift cards. For boys, I’d say gift cards, wallets and thermoses.”

To help promote the fundraiser, Elves at Play will be held Saturday, Dec. 8 from 1-3 p.m. at Waterloo Town Square. There will be a visit from Santa, draws, goodies, crafts and live musical entertainment.

For more information about the fundraiser, visit www.stuffinstockings.ca, www.facebook.com/stuffinstockings or email Carolyn at Carolyn@outstandingwomenspeak.com.