What began as a simple request from a deployed son to a mom for a few holiday stockings for his troops has snowballed into the nonprofit Operation Holiday Stockings. We are compelled to continue on this project because we need to. We are receiving all of our requests this year directly from the deployed troops. You read the following comments and tell me how to stop sending out these stockings.
Valerie in Seattle knit these patriotic stockings!
From Afghanistan: ... "is a fairly new squadron, activated just over a year, is looking for ways to show our soldiers they are thought of and to give them a little bit of home while they are away--especially during the holiday season. Please let us know if your program would be able to support us in any way. We appreciate your generosity. "
These are from the knitters of the Eastside Knitting Guild
From Afghanistan: A Company Family Readiness Leader asked for stockings "to aid with overall morale of the soldiers and my fellow battle-buddies…A lot of soldiers here get gloomy around (the holidays) during deployment so it's my job to try and get their spirits back up. Some of them do not receive care packages from their family. I believe this would be a great way to boost everyone's morale and get their spirits up. Thank you for all that you do."
More from the Eastside Knitting Guild
From Kuwait …"a member of the Junior Enlisted Council of military personnel from all branches with ranks E6 and below whose mission is to try to make surroundings on their small base a home away from home as they process service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Waiting for transport home, there is not much for these service personnel to do on base. Since the USO club's air conditioner is broken, the club is only open a few hours a day, which strains morale. The Council is planning a big holiday party to boost morale and is looking for any type of donations to make it special. Any assistance we can give in anyway no matter how big or small is greatly appreciated."
Deb went on a shopping spree for us.
From Kuwait: "Thank You for replying. If no problem I have 10 soldiers in my section. Happy Thanksgiving! God Bless You."
The Cub Scouts of Pack 517 of Covington decorated these for the troops.
From Afghanistan: "I am currently serving in Afghanistan till march 2012. I have 7 soldiers in my aviation cell, that I would love to give care packages/stockings to for Christmas. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks."
Karen in Thousand Oaks knit up this group of fun stockings.
From Afghanistan: "I was wondering, how does one request stockings? I am coordinating a Christmas event for the unit. I have about 250 troops here in the middle east away from family and love ones over the holidays. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and definitely improve morale. Thank you for your time."
Susan L knit these for us ...
From Afghanistan: "I am very grateful to you and your organization. I can't tell you how many soldiers tell me they are gloomy because of their Christmas being in Afghanistan and not home."
and then pulled out her sewing machine to make these ...
Undisclosed Location Squadron … is putting together a holiday party. Most have families back home they will miss during yet another holiday season. Anything that could be sent to help will greatly affect our morale for the better! Thank you for your time and caring for your troops."
From Afghanistan: "I am inquiring to see how my 18 man team can be included in receiving stockings? We are currently deployed to Afghanistan and will be here until May of next year."
Elaine heard of our need for stockings and went shopping for us.
From Afghanistan: … "is currently in Afghanistan. How do we become one of the lucky Soldiers to receive some of those awesome stockings for the holidays?"
Susan M of Bellevue has done it again, 305 stockings for OHS.
Undisclosed Location: … "my squadron is having a holiday party for all of us who are currently in an undisclosed location … (deployed). We are trying to put together a holiday party. Most of us have families back home that we will miss for Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Years, birthdays, and many more. Anything that could be sent to help our party out will greatly affect our morale for the better! If I could get some stockings for this event to pass out as door prizes or prizes for some games we will be putting on that would be very helpful. If something like this is not possible I will completely understand. Thank you for your time and caring for your troops."
Rebecca sent us these beautiful knit, sewn and stockings she purchased for us.
From Afghanistan: ..."but if we can only get 5 it would be greatly appreciated. To have a stocking or small knick-nack for every person would be awesome though. But anything sent … will be very much appreciated!"
Today I received this request and still haven't replied because I don't know if we can fill it. We will, of course do what we can, but I am having a hard time telling this soldier that 500 is too many for us. What should I say?
From Kuwait: "We're currently deployed to Kuwait for the remainder of our deployment from Iraq. We spent five months at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Our unit has 500 Soldiers who will be stranded in Kuwait for the Christmas season."
I have to be honest with all of you, this has been an emotional year for me. Reading these letters from our deployed troops, who are giving of their time, energy, and lives, is tearing up my heart. I want all of them home, but can't do that, so we send stockings. All of us involved in OHS this year have commented on how we are getting requests for stockings just from the deployed soldiers. We have also noticed how humble they are in their requests and how grateful for anything we can send to them. This is why I don't have time to knit. This is why we do what we do each year. OHS isn't just about me, it's about the troops and the group of wonderful volunteers who have worked on this project from the very beginning.
Oh, and yes, this is why my house currently looks like this ....
and this ...
Well, off to open up some more packages of stockings, sort through some donated goods, and get ready to stuff more stockings. For all of you who have supported OHS this year, and in years past, THANKS. All of you are awesome.