For the ninth year in a row, Boy Scout Troop 507 in Inver Grove Heights is sending 100 filled Christmas Stockings to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.
This tradition started in 2004 as a result of a conversation between one of the Troop's leaders and Fort Snelling. Ever since that day, Troop 507 has worked with local suppliers and volunteers to secure everything from custom printed Christmas cards, to corrugated shipping containers.
Donations from the American Legion Post 424 and AmVets Post 2000, as well as aluminum can recycling has provided the funds for postage and the purchase of the stockings themselves.
Troop families provide the goodies to fill the stockings, and every year there seems to be exactly enough to completely fill 100 stockings. "This is a very rewarding service project for our scouts" said Randy Sampson, nine-year Scoutmaster of Troop 507.
Each stocking contains a hand-written note written by one of the scouts, and if they include their name and address, they often receive a response from the soldier who received the stocking.
Two years ago, our stockings went to the local Red Bulls unit, and when they returned home the following spring, they surprised the scouts at a troop meeting. The Troop was presented with a framed certificate and flag flown in the Troop's honor, over Basra, Iraq.
"It really hit home for us, when the scouts got to personally meet and shake the hands of the uniformed soldiers they had supported." Sampson said. "It made it real. This is a tradition we will continue every year, for as long as we have service members serving away from home. We are proud to do our part to make their holidays a little brighter."
Click the link for a photo gallery of Troop 507 at the Christmas Stocking Filling.