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100 special Christmas stockings are going out to community residents

Participants in Hastings Community Education programs show some of the decorated and filled Christmas stockings. Pictured from left to right are Laverne Guertin, Gene Harper, Bob Filkins, Jean Filkins, Gaby Postiglione and Roxanne Wood. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)

The 100 special Christmas stockings all hung on the walls of Tilden Community Center.

Now, they are enriching the holidays of people in the community, primarily at the Lewis House and the Hastings Veterans Home.

The empty red stockings were hung on the walls several weeks ago and people throughout the Community Education programs were encouraged to take one home, decorate it and fill it with some stocking stuffers. Some just did just the decorating, others brought the stuffers, including shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes and candy. Decorations included Santa Claus, snowmen, bells and bows, all in bright holiday colors.

The special project included members of the Senior Center, students in Community Education classes, and families in the Early Childhood Family Education program, as well as students of Gaby Postiglione.

"They are just gorgeous," said Postiglione, admiring the filled stockings in the Tilden Community Center last Friday.

"They are amazing," said Community Education Director Mary O'Brien.

The idea originated with Postiglione, the Hastings Community Education Adult Basic Education (ABE) program coordinator. Her mother had done it years ago.

"This year I thought it would be a nice idea to do the red stockings," she said.

O'Brien agreed and the stockings were purchased through a generous donation.

"We put them up on the walls and asked people to take them home, decorate them and fill them up if they wanted," said Postiglione.

About 60 were put up on the walls. The remaining 40 were taken to the Dakota County Jail. Postiglione has ABE classes under way there and about 25 enrollees decorated the stockings and filled them. She then brought them back to Tilden.

As of last Friday, 79 filled stockings were ready to be distributed to the veterans and Lewis House occupants. Notes to the veterans expressed appreciation for their service and holiday wishes. Holiday wishes were also expressed in cards to the Lewis House.

"What's neat about this project, other than the beautiful stockings, is seeing the parents of our ECFE kids, the ABE students, the seniors all working together," said O'Brien. "It's just great. It was truly intergenerational."

The first groups of stockings were delivered earlier this week.