Group seeks donations for Christmas gifts for those with mental illness

By EMILY REED / Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – The Shelby County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is seeking donations from the community to stuff roughly 100 Christmas stockings for those facing mental illness.

“A lot of these individuals will not have the opportunity to spend Christmas with their families,” said Sherryl Treslar, who works with NAMI of Shelby County. “They receive a stocking, and to watch them pick out items they would like to put in their stocking is such a joy.”

The Shelby County chapter of NAMI has five group homes as well as several permanent supportive houses for individuals living with mental illness.

NAMI organization provides many services and support programs, and has organized a Christmas celebration for the past several years.

Treslar said the organization holds the holiday celebration at Alabaster’s Shelby Baptist Medical Center in the medical center’s main cafeteria. This year’s party is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m., where NAMI will provide a home-cooked meal and Christmas stocking for about 100 adults and young adults with mental illness.

“After the meal each individual is allowed to get a stocking and stuff the stocking with various things they would like to have,” Treslar said.

Treslar said the organization is seeking donations for items to be stuffed in the stockings which can include things from hats, ball caps, gloves, scarves socks, inexpensive wallets, watches, jewelry, candy, small individual snakcs, gum, hot chocolate packets, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, crayons, calendars, to microwave popcorn, flavored drink “to go” packets for water, Christmas decorations, word search books or small games.

“We will purchase the stockings, and we often receive monetary donations for us to buy items to go in the stockings, Treslar said.

Treslar said for those wishing to donate items for the stockings or give a monetary donation, to contact her at 305-0782 or sherryltreslar.nami@gmail.com.

Donations must be submitted by Dec. 12.

For more information about NAMI, visit Namishelby.org.