26 years and counting: Edwards continue stocking tradition for seniors

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, December 21, 2021

VALLEY — Ray and Jackie Edwards are having their 26th annual Christmas Stocking Program for local seniors this week. On Monday, a group of volunteers joined them to fill 300 large stockings at Timeless Antiques & Flea Mall.

Each stocking was filled with apples, oranges, candy canes, soft peppermint, chocolate candy, and a Christmas card signed by the Edwards.

“It takes a full year for us to do this,” said Mr. Edwards. “We start right after Christmas buying what we need for the next Christmas. It was hard to find stockings going into this Christmas. We finally had to buy them online.”

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And just what went into those stockings on Monday afternoon? A total of 950 apples, 950 oranges, 1,300 candy canes, 6,000 pieces of peppermint, 300 coffee cups, lots of small chocolates and 300 Christmas cards. These items were divided as equally as possible to be placed in the stockings.

Edwards credits Timeless Antiques owner Carol Fulcomer for keeping the Christmas Stocking tradition alive several years ago. For many years, the stockings were filled a little at a time in the Edwards’ garage in Todd Addition. It was a family affair with Ray and Jackie being joined by several generations of the family in taking care of this.

“I thought I was going to have to give it up several years ago when I had been diagnosed with two types of cancer,” he said. “I hated to even think about it since so many of our seniors look forward to it each year. Miss Carol called me into her office one day and told me they could do it in the back of their big store. We have been doing it back there ever since, and I am so grateful for it.”

Edwards is also grateful for having been a cancer survivor.

The back room at Timeless Antiques is a place Edwards is very familiar with. It was a Winn Dixie grocery store at one time, and Edwards was in that room a lot when he worked there.

He would go on to own his own business and to serve 28 years on the Valley City Council. He’s now the board chairman of the Alabama Department of Senior Services.

The 2021 schedule calls for stockings to be delivered to Lanett seniors on Tuesday morning and to residents of Sylvia Word Manor on Tuesday afternoon. Edwards will be accompanied by great grandchildren Gavin Walden, Ky Yates and Addie Morgan on this year’s visits.

He will on Tuesday be at the Lanett Senior Center at 10 a.m. and at Sylvia Word at 2 p.m. At 9:15 a.m. on Wednesday, the City of Valley senior buses will be loaded with approximately 135 stockings for homebound residents. A Christmas party at Valley Senior Center will get started around 10 a.m.

State Senator Randy Price and State Representative Debbie Wood will be present for some of those visits.

“It has meant a lot for Jackie and me to have done this for as long as we have been able to,” Edwards said. “We are so thankful we have been able to keep doing it. We will start thinking about next Christmas as soon as this one is over.”