The YMCA of Orange County (YMCAOC) kept a tradition of sending hope and gifting joy alive with their annual “Stockings for the Troops” donation drive. The event helps bring holiday cheer to Military personnel stationed overseas and state-side who are away from their families and friends during the holiday season, which is especially important during the exacerbated hardships of COVID-19.
With the help of the community, we collected candy canes, individual snack packs, trail mix packs, and protein bars, Starbucks Coffee, cup of noodles, as well as personal care essentials including toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, socks, hand warmers, and baby wipes. Items were collected at YMCAOC Child Care Sites, Health & Wellness Centers, and the Association Office in Tustin. YMCA students and the staff sorted the donations and filled 933 stockings, surpassing the 2019 total of 748 stockings.
To make the gifts more meaningful, the students hand-wrote letters or cards, so that every stocking is accompanied with a special message letting the recipient know how much their service is appreciated. Local nonprofit, Words of Comfort, Hope & Promise, packed and shipped all stockings overseas in time for the troops to receive them before Christmas.
The YMCA of Orange County is dedicated to serving its surrounding communities and making the community a better place for all. To accomplish this goal, YMCAOC created their “Stockings for the Troops” program to support our troops, while also teaching YMCAOC students the importance of giving back. Students are given a chance to do something special and meaningful for someone they won’t ever meet, but it helps them to understand what it means for people to serve our country and the sacrifices they make, especially during the holidays.