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Volunteers decorate, fill stockings for area foster children

NEW PALESTINE — Alex Montes squeezed the bottle of green glitter glue as hard as he could.

He was trying to make a round green eye on the brown cloth deer emblem he had just pasted onto a bright red Christmas stocking.

Once Alex, a first-grader at New Palestine Elementary School, blobbed the green glitter eye onto the deer, he stood back and looked at the finished stocking with glee.

“That looks really good,” said his mother, Kelly Montes.

Alex and his mom both knew he had just made something special for someone else, a child in need.

More than a dozen children and their parents recently took part in a creative crafts program called Holiday Helping Hands at Hancock County Public Library’s Sugar Creek Branch. They helped decorate 40 Christmas stockings for children in need.

The stockings will be given to foster children under care in Hancock County through the Indiana Department of Child Services this holiday season. The stockings will be filled with tiny toys and age-appropriate items the children might need during a party for the foster children later this month.

While many of the items in the stockings might be taken for granted by children who have plenty, the stockings and the items will mean a great deal to children in the foster program, library leaders said.

This is the third year the Sugar Creek library has played host to the event. Library leaders provided all the craft material, including the 40 stockings, while staff members and, this year, community members stepped up and donated items for the stockings.

“I love that this is a community event and we’re giving back,” event coordinator Diana Boss said. “The kids here just love the idea of giving back, too.”

The stockings were being made for foster infants and children through age 15, library leaders said. They received a list from the Department of Child Services so they’d know how to fill the stockings appropriately once they were made.

Library staff had two big boxes full of donated stocking stuffers such as stickers, crayons, baby trolls, toothbrushes and more.

All the foster children also will get a book with their stocking, courtesy of library leaders.

The children making the stockings for others were able to make an ornament for their own tree after they finished making the stockings for the foster children.

Brittney Dick, New Palestine, brought both of her elementary-age children to the event to have them help make the stockings. She thought it would be a great learning opportunity for her young girls.

“I do prison ministry, and I’ve encountered a lot of moms who are on the other side of this, and I wanted to help their kids,” Dick said. “I also wanted my kids to know Christmas is not just about getting stuff.”

Library officials, who say they always are looking for ways to do community projects, planned to take the stockings, once created and filled, to the Department of Child Services, where they will be given to the foster children during a Christmas celebration designed just for them this holiday season.

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.