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Stocking surprises

Groups create Christmas stockings for area women

Monet Borione, sixth from left, of Sister Stockings, and Alyssa Barker, eighth from left, of Marquette Area Mothers of Preschoolers, both leaders in their respective groups, attend Thursday’s “donation night” at Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette with other volunteers. MOPS has been gathering items to be included in stockings that will be donated to area mothers and women during the holidays. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — The table filled with goodies at Messiah Lutheran Church on Thursday had some essentials, such as tissues and lotion, but also “luxuries” such as bath salts and chocolates.

After all, a woman needs both.

The Marquette Area Mothers of Preschoolers on “donation night” made a large early Christmas gift to the Sister Stockings Project, which honors women who are struggling this time of year — a time that’s probably more festive for others.

Through the program, women are nominated to receive gift-laden stockings to brighten up their holidays.

Alyssa Barker, co-coordinator for MOPS, said Sister Stockings covers Marquette, Gwinn, Negaunee and Ishpeming, with the focus on mothers and women who are struggling at Christmastime.

“We’re mothers,” Barker said. “Every mother, every parent has struggled. That’s a normal thing for a parent to do, but these women, we only understand a fraction of what they’re going through. They’re either struggling mentally, physically, financially.”

Christmastime is unique in these struggles for moms and women.

“We give everything to the ones we love, everything we can, and sometimes and a lot of times it means that we leave nothing left for us, and our stockings are empty,” Barker said. “So, we are filling their stockings for them.”

On Dec. 18, the “gigantic stuffed stockings” are delivered to these mothers, she said, to bring joy and happiness to their holidays.

Emotional comfort is important too.

“We help them understand that this is a blip in their lifetime,” Barker said. “They might be struggling now, but it is not going to last, and we will not let it last, and we are always here to help and support in any way possible.”

MOPS volunteers, she said, have been shopping throughout the year to get items to put in the stockings.

“This is our big charity of the year,” Barker said.

Monet Borione, who is involved with the Sister Stockings project, said Thursday’s donated items will be added with other goods that have been donated from across Marquette County, with stockings made later.

“We take each homemade stocking, and we fill it up with 30 of everything that we’ve collected, and then they get delivered on Dec. 18,” Borione said.

For more information or to donate items, people can visit the Sister Stockings Facebook page, she noted, or email sisterstockings@yahoo.com.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.