Annual stocking drive brings joy, gifts to childern in need

Santa’s helpers are not just elves this year.

The South Plains College Reese Center library is hosting a stocking drive for children in need for the eighth consecutive year.

“We had students working in the Reese Library that came up with the idea about eight years ago,” said Tracey Pineda, librarian at the Reese campus and  director of the stocking drive. “One of them was part of a military family, and she was involved in an organization called Project Homefront that collected toys for children in military families, and she had toys left over.  Another student suggested the extra toys be put in stockings and taken to local hospitals.”

The Library is asking students, teachers and anyone in the community to donate. They are collecting new Christmas stockings and stocking stuffers to fill more than 200 stockings.

“We will be aiming a little higher than the 200 stockings, which was our original goal.” Pineda said. “There are more children at some of the locations than before, and we have gotten a few additional requests for stockings for children in some individual families that are struggling this year. I think our stockings have made such a good impression through the years that the organizations we have delivered to before are eager for us to visit again.”

stockingstuffers.pngThe Reese Center library welcomes any SPC student to volunteer and help the library student workers and staff to help collect and stuff stockings. They are also receiving help from Texas Tech students in TRIO Student Support Services for the second consecutive year. TRIO students are first-generation college students who are looking to participate in service projects to help the community.

The stockings will be delivered to children in hospitals who won’t be home around Christmas time, including Covenant Children’s, University Medical Center, and Covenant Levelland. Stockings also will be going to children in transitional homes, such as My Father’s House, Women’s Protective Services, and The Empowerment Restoration Center. The Empowerment Restoration Center in Lubbock was founded and directed by former SPC student Janet Railey.

The children receiving these stockings will be between the age of 5 months to 17 years old, and there are sibling groups in most of these locations.

Donations are being accepted through Dec. 15, and the first delivery is scheduled for Dec. 8. Donations can be dropped off at the Levelland and Reese Center campus libraries, as well as at donation boxes located at both the Reese Center and Lubbock Center campuses.

The library is accepting a wide variety of items. The list includes: baby wipes, infant clothing, bottles, teething toys, stuffed animals, bath toys, toys for various elementary-aged boys and girls, dolls (small enough to fit into stockings), puzzles, art supplies, paperback books, snacks, school supplies, caps and scarves, hygiene products, and much more.

“It’s challenging and kind of complex,” Pineda said. “There are a lot of moving parts.  The goal is to take what we receive and prepare stockings for the children based on their ages and have enough to go around—and not just enough to barely fill the stockings, but to fill them out.  Seeing that come together is like witnessing a miracle almost.”

As donations are received, students sort through the stocking stuffers and sort them by age appropriateness. Then the stocking stuffing can begin.

“It’s fun, but a lot of work, and a little more complex than most students think at first,” Pineda said.

After students finish filling and packing up the stockings, they will be hand delivered to as many children as possible.

During the past seven years, with the help of the SPC community of students, faculty and staff, the library has been able to donate hundreds of stockings to children.

“We are eager to keep up the good reputation SPC has in the communities we serve as people who care,” said Pineda. “It’s all due to the generosity of our students, faculty and staff that it’s been possible for us to continue this long.  Sustaining the project through different challenges has kept things interesting, maybe even suspenseful at times, each year since we began.”

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