SEATTLE — In its 17th year, volunteers filled stockings at Coast Guard Base Seattle during the annual “Coast Guard Family and Friends Holiday Stockings for Homeless Children” event, Dec. 8.
HSHC is an annual Coast Guard family and community organization that provides and delivers handmade holiday stockings, filled with new and educational gifts and toys, to homeless children living in shelters throughout the Puget Sound area. They have filled more than 32,000 stockings, to children ages birth to 17-years, in 102 shelters from Everett to Tacoma.
In 1994, Jan Maxson, the wife of a U.S. Coast Guard member, wanted to do something for the homeless children of New York during the holidays, so she decided to provide them with handmade stockings filled with toys. The first year, a group of volunteers donated 300 handmade stockings to children in shelters in Harlem, Lower Manhattan, and Staten Island.
In 1996, the Maxson family moved to Seattle, which allowed a new home for the HSHC project at Coast Guard Base Seattle.
HSHC is run by an all-volunteer board of 15 directors, primarily made up of the wives of retired and active duty Coast Guard personnel and friends. With the help of over 600 volunteers and the dedication of the year-round board of directors, they are able to raise funds, collect new gifts, sew stockings, and purchase toys and gifts to fill stockings for children during the holiday season.
The organization depends upon the ongoing financial support of its donors to continue to bring the holiday cheer to homeless child during the holiday season. For most of these children, one stocking is all they will receive for the holidays and their goal is to make it the very best gift possible.
“See, I told you Santa would find us,” said a boy from DAWN’s house, a battered women and children’s shelter. “I know it’s him cause he didn’t just bring presents. It takes a real Santa to bring a stocking for Christmas.”
The mothers and children of the shelter felt the stockings were an incredible addition to the tough holiday season.