Ooltewah man collects more than a thousand stockings for hurricane victims
A few weeks ago Channel 3 told you about an Ooltewah man who was collecting toys and stockings to take to a school in Florida.
Thanks to the Tennessee Valley he exceeded his goal.
Thousands of stockings and toys were donated in just weeks.
It looks like Santa’s work shop, with boxes of stockings stuffed with toys filling the room. But, it’s really the inside of the Ooltewah Antique Store.
The store is where Bob Grove is busy stuffing stockings for kids.
"It's kind of tight, but we wiggle as much of it in as we can," Grove explained as he stuffed a stocking full of candy.
Every stocking is filled to the brim, almost over flowing. They are filled with toys, toothbrushes, socks, and others are filled with candy.
People in the Tennessee Valley donated every toy, piece of candy, and even the stockings.
"One man donated probably 250 matchbox and hot wheels," Grove said with a smile.
At the end of the week, the presents will travel south to a place Grove doesn't want people to forget: Port Saint Joe, Florida.
"So it's out of sight out mind," Grove said about the city.
The entire area was devastated when Hurricane Michael barreled through, and still has a long recovery ahead.
Grove's daughter lives there.
Many families lost their homes, clothes, toys, and possessions, which is what he wants everyone to remember this holiday season.
"It's so humbling. We don't think about it,” explained Grove. “Our lives are good. We have rain today, but we all have a warm home so to speak."
Grove wanted to make sure those families still experience Christmas.
"The kids are what this whole thing’s about anyways," said Grove.
The original goal was to take stockings to one elementary school in Florida, but students in three elementary schools will get stockings filled with toys and one filled with candy.
Seeing our community come together for another in need is filling Grove's heart with joy this holiday season.
"You wonder where every stocking is going to go, but I still have to believe that every child will get the right stocking," Grove said laughing.
The stockings will be delivered at the end of the week.
You can still take items to the Ooltewah Antique Store. Any stockings that don't go the school will be taken to other children in the area.
Mars also donated candy for the stockings.