EAST HANOVER, NJ- East Hanover students put their young hands to work this winter to create personalized Christmas stockings that showcased their feelings about the holiday season. Instead of taking these home to hang on the mantle and be filled with treats by Saint Nick, these children donated them to soldiers serving abroad who could not enjoy this holiday season with their loved ones.

These children participated in Operation Christmas Stocking, an initiative put in place by the service group Operation Care Package. The organization sends over 200,000 care packages every year to service members, veterans, first responders and the support system of care givers and family that keep our troops going. The motto of Operation Care Package is “Let No Hero Be Forgotten” and the children of East Hanover have certainly embraced that mindset this holiday season.

“We are all volunteers and continue our mission in making sure “No Hero is Forgotten”,” Debbie Smothers of Operation Care Package wrote to the students in her letter of gratitude. “Your stockings left for Afghanistan on November 17th, and you can be sure that a good number of soldiers will feel your love thousands of miles away this Holiday Season.”

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Operation care package took the stockings made by the students and filled them with gifts for the men and women overseas. In spite of the gifts and the stockings, the most touching thing was the individually written cards that each student attached to his or her stocking. These cards spelled out the gratitude and appreciation of our children for the men and women who pledged their lives to keep them safe.

“We were especially touched by the individual cards that you made and attached to the loops of your stockings,” Smothers went on to say. “These handwritten notes touched the hearts of our volunteers and you taught all of us a lesson the day we stuffed your stockings with gifts.”

Superintendent Scott Rubin expressed his joy at East Hanover students’ commitment to service by saying, “We are so proud of our students and their spirit of giving!”