In what has become a joyful annual holiday event, special needs students at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit at Samuel Everitt School in Levittown gathered together to create 1,150 stockings for servicemen and women far from home.
“Stockings for Soldiers” has grown from just a few dozen stockings four years ago, to 764 last year and more than 1,000 this year, said Robyn Gross, educational marketing lead with the BCIU.
“An exciting part of this program is the students with special needs that are at the heart of making this all come together,” Gross said, in a statement.
The students’ teachers and support staff join the pupils in an assembly line, with each student assigned a task that supports a skill they are practicing, Gross explained. As they learn, they are contributing to a project that helps others and demonstrates their support of soldiers. From sorting donated items, such as snacks, candy, toiletries, pocket games and books, to making cards to collecting the stocking items and filling the stockings, “everyone is included,” Gross stressed.
The special guest this year was Chief Warrant Officer 4 Kevin Quigley, the Marine who helped with the project during its first year.
Middletown Township Supervisor Amy Strouse visited the school during the stocking event and said it was both a great experience and a worthwhile project for all involved, “Coming from a family of Marines, I can feel the joy that our troops will experience when they open these packages,” she said.
The Doylestown-based nonprofit, For the Troops, is instrumental in helping support the growing project, said Gross. Each year the organization contributes funds to ensure the stockings are shipped to military bases around the world.