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Stockings bring Christmas cheer to dozens of W.Va. kids

December 17, 1999|By JULIE E. GREENE

Editor's note: For these 12 days before Christmas we will be recognizing individuals and groups who make the holidays better for others. This is the sixth in a series.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Santa Claus hired some new elves this Christmas season to help bring joy to 52 boys and girls in the Eastern Panhandle.

For decades the Salvation Army of Martinsburg Corps has been distributing Christmas stockings full of toys to needy children in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

This year the Piece Makers Quilt Guild of the Eastern Panhandle and the Martinsburg Women's Club pitched in for the first time at the suggestion of Helen Freese, a member of both groups.

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After hearing about other groups helping with the annual effort, Freese suggested to both groups that they join in this year.

In one month quilt guild members made 52 crazy patchworked stockings, which women's club members then stuffed with toys and hygiene items such as toothpaste and toothbrushes.

The stockings were overflowing with toys such as a Barbie, Pokmon paraphernalia, stuffed animals and Blue's Clues toys.

Salvation Army Capt. Andy Gilliam said the toys will be distributed to children up to 12 years old starting today.

Members from both clubs used money from their own pockets to make the stockings and buy the toys, said Freese and Katie Palmer, 47, president of the women's club.

Freese said she hopes it becomes an annual tradition for the groups.

"It wasn't that much work and I think everyone enjoyed themselves doing it," said Freese, 58, of Martinsburg.

Janice Tyson, 55, president of the quilting guild, made 14 of the stockings.

"I thought it was great to have three organizations working on it," Tyson said.

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