A half hour before the doors of The Shepherd’s Staff opened Thursday evening, dozens were bundled up and in line to pick up Christmas stockings for their children. The organization, which launched its gift distribution effort with an “Evening by the Fire” event, expects to pass out more than 800 stockings before the holiday.
After receiving a bag of stockings, Tiffany Smith called the program “a blessing.”
“I’m a single mom with eight kids. When you need extra help, they’re here,” Smith said. “This year I wasn’t sure where Christmas was coming from and this really helps.”
Stockings will also be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday, Dec. 18; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec.19 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20.
“We couldn’t do this without the community,” Executive Director Brenda Meadows said. “Hundreds of stockings have been donated and our volunteers have worked for several weeks to stuff them.”
Meadows said their “Evening by the Fire” is “really like a party.”
“The s’mores and the campfire really add a family atmosphere and it gives people a chance to socialize and have fellowship,” she said. “It’s really like a party and a lot of people don’t often have a chance to do this.”
Meadows said she enjoys the event because “this is the one event where I really get to interact with folks.”
“For many, compassion and the gift of time can be more incredible things than the physical items passed out this evening,” she added.
Dressed as an elf, volunteer Vera Brooks seemed excited to pass out the stockings.