Christmas stocking drive generates gifts for local students

ALABASTER – A local partnership on a Christmas project will benefit numerous students at schools in Helena, Chelsea and Alabaster.

Saginaw-based limestone products company Carmeuse Longview and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham and Shelby County partnered to hold a Christmas stocking drive from Nov. 30-Dec. 11.

Carmeuse Longview employees donated more than 300 gifts to be delivered to 25 children at Helena Intermediate School, Forest Oaks Elementary School and Meadow View Elementary School.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also received an $8,000 donation from Carmeuse Longview, an annual donation that is included with Big Brothers Big Sisters’ status as a Carmeuse Foundation partner.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Carmeuse Senior Area Environmental Manager Jackie Padgett said. “This year, the holiday season can be particularly stressful for families in our community, so we wanted to do our part to make sure we could spread some extra holiday cheer. Our team had a lot of fun putting this drive together, and it was extremely rewarding.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters aims to improve the lives of the Greater Birmingham and Shelby County youth who need it the most, including those living in single-parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration.

The organization makes monitored matches between adult volunteers (“bigs”) and children (“littles”), ages 6-18, in communities across the country.

“We were excited when they approached us and wanted to set it up, but we were absolutely blown away by the results,” said Brooke McKinley, director of marketing and public relations for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham. “We are in awe of what they were able to do for us. They made sure every child received multiple gifts. We are going to have a lot of happy little ones.”

Carmeuse Longview will continue to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters in the future, with plans for events in 2021, including field trips and a mentoring program.

The Christmas stocking drive and Carmeuse Foundation partnership are part of Carmeuse Longview’s ongoing commitment to community engagement, which this year has also included a food drive with Manna Ministries and food deliveries to Three Hots and a Cot and staff members at Shelby Baptist Medical Center.