Filling stockings for students

Washougal mom seeks donations to help 100 children with special needs

After hearing that some children have never received a Christmas stocking, a local mom and her family decided to take action.

Jenny Dayley and her daughter, Brooke, 12, are taking the reigns on a project to provide stockings for children with special and financial needs in Washougal schools.

Stockings, filled with food, toiletries, candy, games and gift cards will be given out before school ends for winter break.

The effort began in December 2014, after a conversation in Dayley’s minivan.

“My mom was talking to her sister, who works with kids who are having problems,” Brooke said. “She told my mom a kid was acting out in class and wouldn’t read something because his glasses were broken. When she asked why he didn’t get them fixed, he told her their family had just been evicted from their home. My mom started crying and so did I.”

Since it was near the holidays, Brooke came up with an idea to give gifts to kids in need to cheer them up.

Dayley, who has two children with special needs, wanted to focus on that group of students, particularly those who are also in financial need.

“Those kids are near and dear to my heart,” she said. “It doesn’t take a lot to brighten their day. My kids have everything they need. It would be easy just to pick a name off of a tree and go buy a gift, but it is better to get the kids involved as well.”

Dayley is hoping to make 100 stockings.

“I would do this all myself if I had the resources, but I don’t,” she said. “We want to deliver as many as possible, so donations are greatly appreciated.”

She is looking for travel sized toiletry items, as well as jars of peanut butter, candy, $5 gift cards and hot chocolate.

“If people don’t want to go out and buy an item, cash donations are great,” Dayley said. “I will go and buy things for the stockings.”

She said that all donations help, whether large or small.

“I have had people drop off a jar of peanut butter or a box of hot chocolate,” she said. “It’s a lot of people helping a little that makes a difference.”

The Washougal High School ASB will decorate the bags, which will then be distributed to students.

“Some of these kids don’t get anything for Christmas, so I want them to feel special,” Dayley said. “I enjoy being able to involve so many people in a simple way to make a difference.”

Added Brooke, “I am really glad this ended up happening again this year. Last year it was a really humbling experience. It has made me a better person, understanding what some kids go through.”

To donate, visit the Facebook page “Stockings for Students,” call 909-2307 or drop items off at 865 Sunset Ridge Drive, Washougal. Mark donations “Stockings for Students, c/o Jenny Dayley.”