Over 400 stockings filled for community

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 22, 2023

VALLEY — This is Christmas Stocking Week in Valley. It’s something Ray Edwards has done for more than 30 years now, and it never gets old.

On Tuesday afternoon, a volunteer crew including Edwards, great grandson Gavin Walden, State Representative Debbie Wood and Chambers County Commissioner Debra Riley filled to the brim a total of 400 stockings. Each one contained a Christmas card, two apples, two oranges, four candy canes, some soft peppermint and chocolate candy, a Christmas tree ornament, some trinkets made by a disabled person, a credit card holder, a ball point pen, and some sticky notes. Each woman getting a Christmas stocking will receive a new pair of knit gives. Each man will receiver a new shirt and a pack of three new pair of socks.

The work crew formed an assembly line in the back room of Timeless Antiques and had the stockings filled in less than an hour. That’s a relatively short period of time given the massive amount of work that needed to be done. The applies and oranges alone each filled four big boxes.

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“I look forward to doing this all year long,” Edwards told The Valley Times-News. “Our first stop on Wednesday will be at the Lanett Senior Center.  We will be there around 10:30 in the morning. We will then go to LaFayette, where Council Member Toney Thomas is very supportive of what we are doing. I greatly appreciate his help. On Thursday we will be going to the Beulah Senior Center. It will be the first time we have taken stockings there. I’m looking forward to it. In the afternoon we will have a Christmas party at Sylvia Word Manor. Steve Baggett and the Old Rugged Cross will be singing Christmas songs. Everyone always enjoys that.”

This final stop will be on Friday at the Valley Senior Center. Valley has the largest congregate group of the senior centers Edwards visits each year. Three city buses making homebound deliveries on Friday morning will be leaving Christmas stockings at each residence along the way.

“This is my 31st year of doing this,” Edwards said. “I started when Valley had its senior center on Combs Street in Fairfax. One year we took some Christmas stockings to the county jail. We saw some really heartbreaking situations there. Some people in the jail told us no one ever came to visit them, and there was no way they would have any kind of Christmas that year. They were really surprised when we left them a Christmas stocking. I would like for everyone to enjoy Christmas.”

That first year, Edwards gave away 100 stockings. That number has grown over the years and is reaching the 400 mark this year.

Edwards is thinking about taking some stockings into Bob Fincher’s district next year. “He’s such a great guy and is serving his final term,” Edwards said. “I’m sure the seniors in Randolph and Clay counties would appreciate getting a Christmas stocking to help share the joy of the holiday season.”