Volunteers stuff stockings for Marines

HATBORO, Pa. - December 10, 2011

It was the sound of 5,550 Christmas stockings being stuffed for Marines serving overseas.

"This is the end of the year shebang! Send them the traditions of home that they are missing from being with their family and friends. We're sending Christmas to them," said Patty Lewis.

Dozens of volunteers worked all day stuffing stockings at Upper Moreland Intermediate School in Hatboro.

20 companies donated 5550 of their products to bring Christmas to Marines serving in Afghanistan and Africa.

Patty Lewis, founder of America 4R marines says she only sends what they will need.

They want protein to keep them going. They want weapon cleaners. They want things that will occupy them and take their minds off of things when they have a little down time," said Lewis.

Even Santa was put to work as people stuffed Chapstick, cigars and Christmas cards from local kids into those stockings.

Lewis' non-profit has been providing year round support for military men and women on active duty for 6 years.

It all started when she sent 1,200 stocking stuffers to her son's Marine Corps battalion.

"A lot of people don't have such close families, and they don't receive packages from anyone. So just receiving a package from someone shows them that people back home really care," said Brian Lewis.

But this year, the goodwill and spirited event almost didn't happen. The struggling economy impacted donations.

Lewis also believes people are assuming that all of our military is coming home due the news of Iraq's end of year deadline with our troops.

That's not the case, and she says nothing was going to stop her from getting Christmas to those serving in very remote areas of operations.

"There are plenty of ways to get involved to continue to support the people that keep us the land of free because of their bravery," said Lewis.

To make donations, visit the America 4R Marines website at america4rmarines.org

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