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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A Knoxville woman is preparing to spread holiday cheer to the Armed Forces.
Her idea involves sending stockings filled with goodies to servicemen and women across the world.
Lisa Nichols started "Stockings From US" in 2010 as a way to do something nice for her son, a U.S. Marine who was deployed overseas.
That first year she sent around 100 stockings to his unit, but since then, the program has grown dramatically.
Nichols has been busy lately collecting donations from the community to purchase close to 1,000 stockings and items to go in them.
They're stockpiled at a West Knoxville business where soon the stockings will be stuffed and sent to troops deployed all over the world.
"Giving the community a chance to say thank you in a small way means a lot to them. It means a lot to them; it's a morale boost," said Nichols.
Even though Nichols' son is home now, she continues her mission sending stockings to hundreds of servicemen and women away from their families.
"It's a little taste of home, things they may not have access to: cookies, crackers and gum," she said.
In addition to the goodies, there a personal note in each stocking.
"Mostly it was the excitement of opening the stockings and having the fun with the stuff, and getting a card with someone's name on it. People will pull a card and say 'Who's this? Who's Sally? Who's Joe?' 'That's my sister, that's my cousin.' It was like everything tied together. It was a big hit," said Chuck Burton.
Burton's son, a Marine Lance Corporal, and his unit members got their own stocking last year while deployed.
Burton also is one of the several military parents who volunteer to make sure the stockings touch even more lives.
"A lot of times we forget as the war winds down in the middle east, there's a lot of kids deployed,just out there, standing out there, watching our business," said Burton.
Nichols says it cost $25 to buy the items to stuff and stocking and to ship them.
The organization is asking the public to donate, online or through the mail. All donations are tax deductible.
Donations can be mailed to:
Knoxville Downtown Sertoma Club P.O. Box 2204 Knoxville, TN 37901
Checks should be made payable to the Sertoma club.