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Stocking Tree Drive Provides Comfort and Joy to Children

Stocking Tree Drive Provides Comfort and Joy to Children
December 2019
WRITER: 

How to give to Lowcountry Orphan Relief this season





Donors to the stocking tree drive often get their children involved in helping to pick out and drop off clothing and stuffed animals at the distribution center.

For many, the holidays are a time of abundance, with myriad family and community celebrations and a mad dash for the hottest toys to place under the tree. But for some Lowcountry children—who are separated from family to ensure their well-being—basic necessities, such as school clothes or a stuffed animal to help comfort them at night, top their wish lists.

That’s where Lowcountry Orphan Relief (LOR) comes in. The nonprofit was founded in 2003 when Lynn Young, then serving as a guardian ad litem, realized children in foster care rarely have time to pack before they are removed from homes. Seeing the need for clothing and comfort items, she organized donations from friends and neighbors.

Sixteen years later, the nonprofit’s core program continues to provide care kits—which include two weeks worth of clothing, toiletries, and school supplies, as well as a stuffed animal—for children in the tri-county area who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected. The kids have the opportunity to refresh their bags four times a year as they outgrow clothes or seasons change. In 2018, LOR distributed more than 4,300 care kits.

During the holidays, LOR collects these essentials through its stocking tree drive, giving Lowcountry residents the opportunity to act as elves and bring a little comfort and joy. “Each stocking includes a high-need item for these kids,” executive director Meagan Labriola says. “It’s a meaningful way to give back during the holidays.”

A representative of a Charleston ZTA sorority alumnae group drops off clothing to LOR executive director Meagan Labriola and program director Christina Lope.

Simply pick up a stocking from LOR or request one by e-mail, and purchase the wish-list items. Deliver your unwrapped donations to Lowcountry Orphan Relief’s distribution center in North Charleston, where volunteers assemble the care kits for delivery.

Many local businesses take part in the spirited drive, too. For the second holiday season, the companies at Pacific Box & Crate (home to real estate tech firm BoomTown, as well as PhishLabs, Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co., and more) will be displaying their own LOR tree at the on-site food court, Workshop, so everyone working within the development, as well as patrons dining there, can select one and donate.

“We thought creating a tree-like installation that holds the Lowcountry Orphan Relief stockings for anyone on campus to participate would have the greatest impact for the most kids,” says Nina Magnesson, who leads citizenship initiatives at BoomTown. “It’s a wonderful way for the Pacific Box & Crate family of companies to come together for the community during the holidays.”

Jeannette Meeks, a former foster child who volunteers with LOR, knows firsthand how the children look forward to these care packages, which “provide a sense of normalcy and warmth during a lonely time.

“Picking out the items for children is such a joy,” she says. “Everyone is beyond thrilled to play Santa for a local child in need.”

Lowcountry Orphan Relief Stocking Tree

Visit lowcountryorphanrelief.org/stocking-tree to request a stocking. Drop off unwrapped items at LOR’s distribution center at 1850 Truxton Ave., North Charleston, during the following times:

■ December 3, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
■ December 5, 3 - 5 p.m.
■ December 10, 11 a.m. -2 p.m.
■ December 12, 3 - 5 p.m.