CARPENTERSVILLE, Ill. - For troops who can't go home for the holidays, a local woman is stepping up to help. She's been busy making holiday stockings all year long, getting help from others to fill them.
It's all to make the holidays brighter for those serving our country, including a member of her own family.
Her Kane County dining room has been transformed into a stocking stuffing factory. Volunteers pick snacks, toothbrushes and games to fill hundreds of stockings.
All of those stockings hand made by Tina Loizzi.
“I don't know, it just came to me,” she said. “Something I could do with my hands, keep me busy and she was always in my mind as I was doing it.”
That person on her mind is her daughter, Katie, who's now serving with the Air Force.
“My daughter went into the Air Force in January,” said Tina. “She's the first one out of the house. She's my only daughter and I needed a project to kind of get through it, kind of a rough time for me, so I decided to start knitting stocking for soldiers.”
Since January, she's knit about 250 stockings. Friends, family and her Carpentersville community donated supplies to go inside them.
“People just came together and donated all of the stuff,” said Tina. “I pretty much have not purchased anything on this table - that came from everybody else around.”
Elementary students even wrote personal letters to include, all to send some holiday cheer to soldiers.
“We are going to ship them to Cheyanne, Wyoming, to my daughter's base there, and they are going to disperse them to the people who are most going to benefit from them,” said Tina. “I feel they deserve so much more than this but this is what I, as one person, with the help of my friends, family, and neighborhood, can do for them.
Tina hopes the soldiers who receive these stockings realize they were crafted with love, and that might help at least a bit when they're away from home this holiday season.
“This 250 is only a tiny dent in the Air Force that my daughter is at so I would love to be able to give more,” said Tina.“I'm going to miss these stockings, they've been a part of my life for a year. And it's meant to give back and I hope they feel the love we put it in.”
Tina says they had some extra supplies, so they are now making about 90 gift bags to take to a transitional veterans home in McHenry County.
She's already thinking about how to help soldiers next holiday season but feels she might need a break from knitting so much.