Ninth annual stocking drive benefits children, teens during holidays

For the ninth consecutive year, the South Plains College Reese Center Library is organizing a stocking drive for children in need.

The idea for the stocking drive came from students working in the Reese Library. One of the students had been involved in an organization called Project Homefront that collected toys for children in military families. When she had toys left over, another student suggested the extra toys be put in stockings and taken to local hospitals.

The Library is collecting new Christmas stockings and stocking stuffers to fill their goal of 200. They are asking for students, teachers and people in the community to donate.

The Reese Center Library welcomes any SPC student to volunteer to help the Library student workers and staff with the collection of donations and stuffing the stockings. They are also receiving help from students from the Catholic Student Ministry of South Plains College and students from Texas Tech University’s AVID First Year Experience (AFYE) program partnering this year. The AVID First Year Experience program provides supplemental academic support to students entering into their first year at Texas Tech.

The stockings will be delivered to children in Lubbock, Levelland and Plainview hospitals, as well as to agencies that serve women with children and agencies that shelter homeless families. These locations include My Father’s House, Hope House and Spirit House (both are a part of Family Promise Lubbock), Women’s Protective Services, and the Restoration Empowerment 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. 14, and the deliveries will start during finals week. Donations can be dropped off at the Levelland and Reese Center campus libraries, as well as at donation boxes located at each building at Reese Center.

“Our first delivery date is December 12, but we will have others later that week,” said Tracey Pineda, librarian at the Reese Center campus and the director of the stocking drive. “Last year, with the help of a family member who travels to Plainview every day, stockings were dropped off at the Covenant Hospital there the week after finals.”

A wide variety of items can be donated, including: 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, and hygiene products, among others.

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

“Finding space to sort and prepare the stockings appeared at first to be a challenge this year, because the spot we used last year was booked,” Pineda explained. “But thanks to quick thinking by Juanita Yanez, the Library technical assistant at Reese, and the permission of the Dean of Reese, Kara Martinez, we are now in a bigger space that is currently unoccupied in our building, the area that used to house Reese Admissions and Records.  Instead of a pop-retail store, we’ve got a pop-up Santa’s workshop.”

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

During the past eight 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.

“Students, faculty, and staff all share in this project that benefits people in the communities SPC serves,” Pineda said. “It’s just great seeing people who don’t necessarily work in the same department, or on the same campus, or who don’t even know each other, work together to accomplish something like this.”

For additional details, or to contact Pineda or Yanez about drop-off locations, call 716-4682.

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