The holidays are a time to close out the year alongside your loved ones. However, not all people get to spend the holidays with their family, especially soldiers.
One organization teamed up with an area school to give back to the troops.
It’s critical for kids to learn about giving from a young age. A big part in teaching that is helping those a whole world away whom they’ve never met.
“We are packing stockings to send to deployed service members who are serving overseas and will be away from their homes and families for the Christmas holiday,”
In its 12th year of filling stockings, as part of its “Stockings for the Troops” program, the nonprofit all began with the service of Ciambotti’s son.
“He enlisted in the Army in 2005 and has done five tours in the Middle East, So, just getting thrown into the whole army life as a mom, sending care packages to my son, understanding how many single soldiers served with him that were not getting any packages at all from home or for Christmas.”
And so, Students at Tyrone Christian Academy had the option of making or buying a stocking, to fill with a list of items. Kids of all ages filled stockings with everything from hot chocolate, cookies, and sweets; to playing cards and toothbrushes.
“And we are very intentional when we send care packages, We send enough for the whole unit so that everybody gets something.”
She says the stockings will be sent to troops stationed in countries such as Germany, Poland, and Syria, among others.
Headmaster Brandon Hartman says they try to instill the message that it is better to give than it is to receive.
“I just hope they have a really good Christmas, since they won’t be home for their families,”
In fact, one student’s brother, Travis Yazzie, is stationed in Kenya with the U.S. Air Force. He and his comrades are some of those receiving the stockings.
“I think it’ll give them a little boost going into Christmas ’cause they normally don’t expect anything, especially when they’re on deployment.”
Ciambotti says many of the units they give to are made up of mostly 18- and 19-year-olds. For many of them, this will be their first Christmas away from home.
“It helps to get them through, That’s probably the biggest response I get from the chaplains, is ‘You really lifted the morale of these soldiers and gave them a reason to keep on going.”
If you would like to get involved, you can check out the nonprofit’s website for details.