YMCA group creates stockings for local needy families and children

December 6, 2012

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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The women of the Coal Creek Family YMCA’s active older adult program are giving back this holiday season with special handcrafted stockings for families in need.

A handful of women gathered at the YMCA Nov. 27, to fill stockings and bags with treats for men, women and children living in shelters.

It’s not the first year that the group has organized a holiday giving program, but this year’s haul is the biggest yet.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Members of the Coal Creek Family YMCA’s active older adult program sift through mounds of treats as they fill stockings that will be donated to families in need.

The group prepared more than 100 stockings for children, 16 goody bags for teens, 100 bags for women and 100 for men.

The children’s stockings were filled with hand-sewn toys, Beanie Babies, candy and breakfast bars. The bags for women, men and teens were filled with random combinations of scarves, gloves and hats, thanks to the work of the group’s elite crafters. The bags also included personal care kits filled with necessities such as soap and a toothbrush.

Many of the toiletries were donated by visitors at the Coal Creek location, where a donation bin was set up.

“People that come to the Y are very generous about contributing to this cause,” said Mary Lu Sansburn, one of the group’s leaders.

Renee Kroese, of Newcastle, eagerly knitted scarves and hats for the bags. It was a lot of work, she said, but it was all worth it, knowing that someone in need would be getting use out of them.

“It means a lot because it is such a small thing that I’m doing, but it could mean so much to someone else,” she said.

Despite dealing with more than 300 goody bags full of treats, the group remained determined, calm and collected in sorting through the piles of items that needed to be placed into sacks, Sansburn said.

“It’s gone fine because we’ve got some wonderful, wonderful people that work so hard, and we could really depend on them coming in and volunteering,” she said. “So, it’s been fun, not stressful.”

Newcastle resident Priscilla Locke said she didn’t hesitate to help fill stockings.

“It’s a need, so that’s kind of a no brainer,” she said. “This is just one part of your life. Giving is just something that you do.”

The stockings and bags will be distributed to shelters in Bellevue and the Salvation Army in Renton.

The gifts will be just a small part of someone’s holiday season, Kroese said, but she hopes they bring some cheer to those in need.

“I remember when I was a child, and I was not homeless or anything. I had a good family, but we didn’t have a whole lot, and so even a small thing means a lot during the holiday season,” she said. “I think a lot of these youths don’t have that much, and I hope that it’s not so much the gift, but I hope that they get the feeling that somebody cares.”


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