The kindergarten wing at Mt. Juliet Elementary School was like the North Pole recently with stockings galore and little elves stuffing them for members of the military who can’t come home for Christmas this year.

Stuffing Stockings for Soldiers was started 16 years ago by Blue Star mom Reba Gaye. She had a son overseas. The Blue Star moms enlisted the help of students at Lakeview Elementary to help them put goodies inside huge stockings to make their way to military bases overseas.

Mt. Juliet Elementary kindergarten teacher Tammy Shipley said all five kindergarten classes (120 students) lined the halls to help stuff 600 stockings that were mailed that afternoon in order to get to the military members by Christmas.

Each stocking included either a Christmas card or a letter from each of the students.

“The Blue Star moms gathered so many donations, and I solicited our MJE families and the community,” Shipley said. “It was amazing because donations were really up this year.”

What were some of the goodies to be found in a month by military members? Peanut butter crackers, playing cards, drink powder, toiletries, hats and combs.

“One parent who worked in the business donated 600 toothbrushes, tubes of tooth paste and dental floss,” Shipley said.

Shipley said it cost $4,000 to ship the stockings overseas. She said the Blue Star moms will raise funds to cover it.

“And, sometimes some comes out of their own pockets,” she said. “But I think the community will help out again.”

Each year after this stocking shipment arrives, the students often receive either a “thank you” video or card from military members who have said the unexpected box of stuffed stockings made their Christmas.

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