The Garnet A. Wilson Public Library is helping to make Christmas merry for Pike County children this holiday season, thanks to the Stocking Project created by children’s librarian Erin-Faith Neufarth.
“I came up with the Stocking Project last year, making it our first year to do so,” said Neufarth. “The years prior to that, we did Claus Care Kits. The library is no longer collecting for Claus Care Kits. We are focusing our time and energy on the Stocking Project now.”
“We changed over to stockings last year because I realized they were being overlooked and that is where the magic truly begins,” said Neufarth. “The stocking is a foreshadowing of what is to come.”
Neufarth said she starts taking donations for the stockings at the end of October and will take donations up to the 10th of December.
“I post something on Facebook and I talk to the (library) patrons and the parents I know and I count on them to spread the word,” Neufarth said.
“The scouts will then put the stockings together on the 11th so we can have them all delivered before school lets out for Christmas,” Neufarth said. “We really do have a fantastic little community and we have so many loving and wonderful people who are willing to help.”
The library became involved with the Stocking Project because Neufarth’s son, Gabriel, has been a scout since he was in kindergarten, Neufarth said.
“I have always been his den leader, along with seven other little boys,” Neufarth said. “He is now in fifth grade and is an Arrow of Light Cub Scout. He will be an official Boy Scout next year.”
Neufarth said the stockings will likely be delivered on the 13th and 14th of December.
“I drop them off at the primary school and allow the teachers to give them to kids who are in need of them the most,” said Neufarth.
Although most donations are dropped off at the library, Neufarth said she is “more than willing” to meet donors elsewhere to pick up items for the Stocking Project.
“We like trinkets,” Neufarth said. “Anything from the Dollar Store: slinkys, bouncy balls, puzzles, party favors, candy, non-perishable snacks, little stuffed animals, yo-yos, play-dough, little toys and trinkets for the kids to play with. I just tell people to donate things that they would put in their child’s stocking. I also ask for coloring books, crayons and little toy cars.”
Neufarth said donations are accepted all year; however, she doesn’t always save these items for Christmas time.
“Linsy, my assistant, and I run into so many needy children during the year, so we give them what we can,” said Neufarth.
Last year, 75 stockings were given to Pike County children.
Neufarth said the stockings are distributed to children who are “still young enough to believe in the magic of Christmas.”
“Disadvantaged children believe in the same Santa that children who grow up in wealthier homes or comfortable homes believe in,” Neufarth said. “So when they wake up believing they will receive a certain gift, but the parents don’t have the means to do so, that child can end up bitter or jaded.”
Neufarth said she grew up with a girl who thought Santa “hated” her because she didn’t get a certain gift she wished for.
“I was in second grade at that time and I will forever remember that moment,” Neufarth said. “We can’t allow children to believe that Santa hates them. We have to help as many people as we can. If all people spent a hundred dollars less on their children and donated that money to a child in need, I can only imagine how many happy hearts we would have”
For additional information about the Stocking Project, contact Neufarth at Garnet Wilson Public Library, (740) 947-4921.