Every year, The Night Ministry's generous supporters help make the holiday season a little brighter for the children, youth, and adults we serve by contributing to the celebrations we hold across all of our programs in December.
One of the biggest ways our friends help is through the donation of stockings that are filled with essentials like socks, gloves, tissues, and deodorant for our clients, along with a few fun items like candy and decks of cards. The stockings are donated by individuals, congregations, organizations, and businesses from across the Chicago area.
Catherine Schulte organizes stocking donations from Glencoe Union Church, where she said stocking stuffing has become a holiday tradition.
"Everybody thinks it is super fun. All of the kids look forward to that Sunday in December when we get together to stuff stockings," she said.
Schulte said the process is also an opportunity for congregants to learn about the day-to-day realities of the individuals who will receive the stockings.
"It creates conversations about why things like lip balm and socks are needed and why the stockings aren't filled with tons of candy."
JR Clark had been a supporter and volunteer with The Night Ministry before he suggested to his colleagues at the American Bar Association, where he is Director of Accreditation Administration, that they come together to stuff stockings a few years ago.
Everyone in his office who wants to participate is welcome, he said, even if they haven't been able to purchase items or donate money.
"My colleagues who cannot give are sometimes the ones that definitely make sure they are there to help stuff the stockings," Clark said.
Clark also said his coworkers appreciate the opportunity to give back during the holiday season.
"Being reminded of those that don't have as much and to be able to, even in a small way, do something that hopefully brings some joy into others' lives, I think that's very important."