Annual Stocking Drive—The Reason for the Season

Christmas is in the air…cinnamon, scented candles, freshly cut balsams… all friendly reminders of the most joyous of holidays. Christmas is known to bring dazzling smiles to children everywhere and each year the Sacred Heart community is committed to ensuring that smiles will appear on the faces of area children.

One of our most meaningful Christmas traditions is the Stocking Drive. For nearly fifty years, the Student Council (STUCO) has spearheaded this outreach project. In late November STUCO representatives provide students with the gender and grade of a child to fill a stocking for. Suggested items include small toys, toiletries, winter hats, mittens and scarves, art and school supplies. The Drive culminates when the entire school joins in Chapel for the annual Christmas Prayer Service with students, faculty and staff, and administrators placing their stockings on the altar. STUCO then distributes stockings to schools in New Haven—St. Francis/St. Rose, St. Martin de Porres, and public elementary schools.

A member of Student Council offered, “The Stocking Drive is not only one of the longest standing traditions at Sacred Heart, but also one of our most treasured. As a community we join to prepare stockings for area children. It's such a beautiful sight to see the hundreds of stockings spread across the altar at our Christmas Prayer Service. We are so very blessed here at Sacred Heart and to extend this blessing to others during the holiday season is truly gratifying."

Again this year, alumnae have gotten in on the act. Well over one hundred area alumnae, from different classes and decades, participated in the annual Christmas Stocking Workshop to create hundreds of stockings. "I cherish this Sacred Heart tradition...I find joy in filling my stocking each year, knowing what it will mean to a child. This is the reason for season," shared an alumna. Special thanks to Alumnae Stocking Chair Lisa Grasso Egan ’81, P’21 for her leadership and enthusiasm.

And for those alumnae who live away, the Office of Alumnae Relations sponsors its very own challenge, similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge. The Christmas Stocking Challenge allows alumnae near and far to continue this longstanding tradition. Conceived by President Sr. Sheila O’Neill, ASCJ, Ph.D., ’71, alumnae are asked to create a stocking (or several!) and/or get their community, employer, or friends to create one (or several!) to donate to the charity of their choice. But before doing so, they are asked to take a photo with their stocking(s) and email to the Director of Alumnae Relations Caroline Raynis ’07, or post on the Alumnae Facebook page. Nominating others is strongly encouraged. “Let’s see how many stockings we can collectively create and donate nationally and internationally…,” challenges Sr. Sheila.