Fill A Stocking, Fill A Heart needs new workshop space
Fill a Stocking, Fill a Heart — a local, all-volunteer nonprofit that fills handmade Christmas stockings for Clackamas County residents — recently lost its workshop space in Oregon City.
Claudia Harris of FASFAH said if the organization cannot find a new site, it may have to cease efforts to help some of the most vulnerable people in Clackamas County.
After spending four years in a donated space at the Hilltop Mall, FASFAH volunteers had to move everything into storage.
"A workshop space is essential to accumulate donations and to fill and store the stockings," Harris said. "Many community groups and individuals volunteer to come to the workshop and help fill the stockings. It takes hundreds of hours to accomplish the task, and it cannot be done without a dedicated workshop space."
Over the past 20 years, more than 37,000 stockings have been distributed across Clackamas County. Last December, FASFAH worked with local agencies to assemble more than 3,500 stockings for their most vulnerable clients — homeless people, isolated senior citizens, very-low-income families and individuals, veterans and other individuals with little or nothing during the holidays.
Every stocking contains basic hygiene items like shampoo, soap and toothpaste, plus necessities such as gloves, socks and hats. Gift items that are age- and client-appropriate are included. For a homeless person, this may be hand warmers, flashlights, Mylar space blankets and scarves. For a disabled senior citizen, it may be a handmade wheelchair bag, pillowcase or lap blanket.
Volunteers work year-round to cut and sew the stockings, knit or crochet hats, gather donations and hold fundraisers to purchase stocking fillers. The organization began in 1997 when the OC Chamber of Commerce handed out 500 Christmas stockings along with the Willamette Falls Hospital Foundation, which provided food baskets to people in Oregon City.
Each fall, donation bins appear at area businesses, libraries and senior centers. Members of the public and employees of the businesses can pick up an empty stocking and fill it for a specific age group and/or donate much-needed items like warm socks, knit hats and hygiene items.
FASFAH needs a minimum of 1,200 to 1,500 square feet accessible 24/7 (its most recent space at the Hilltop Mall was 2,200 square feet).
With all of the nonprofit's funds going directly toward filling the stockings, Harris said the group is unable to pay rent for the space. However, anyone who donates the space to a 501(c)3 nonprofit like FASFAH might be eligible for a tax deduction.
"Staying in or near Oregon City would be ideal since many of the all-year volunteers live in Oregon City," Harris said.
Want to help?
WHEN: Saturday, April 7
WHERE: Pioneer Community Center, 615 Fifth St., Oregon City.
DETAILS: Doors open at 5:15 p.m.; dinner 6-7 p.m.; bingo 7-9 p.m. Cost is $15 ($10 seniors; $5 kids 12 and under) and includes pasta dinner and two all-night bingo cards. Additional bingo cards, $2; raffle tickets, $3 or two for $5; donate a package of socks at the event and get a free raffle ticket.