Loan officer spends 11 months on 100 stockings for needy

Posted Nov. 23, 2009, at 5:17 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — After a busy day in the banking industry, Lilly Weatherbee, 51, unwinds by closeting herself in her small sewing room where her thoughts shift to those people less fortunate.

Weatherbee, a retail loan officer at the Dover-Foxcroft branch of Bangor Savings Bank, is no stranger to giving. She has combined her passion for quilting and sewing to become a “blanketeer” for Project Linus, whose volunteers make warm quilts for seriously ill or traumatized children, she assists her local Kiwanis Club in fulfilling the wants and needs of children at Christmas in economically stressed families, and she gives to the United Way.

Starting in January and ending in early November, Weatherbee found time to cut out and sew 100 brightly colored Christmas stockings. Since she had lots of Christmas material left over from previous projects, Weatherbee initially started sewing the stockings for the fun of it, she said recently. When she stopped to count them at the end of August, she realized she had 50 of them completed.

Weatherbee said she e-mailed Manna Ministries Inc. and asked if they could use the stockings. When the reply was a big yes, she decided to make more. “I thought, well, I’d better make some more because I don’t know how many kids they have, so then I went right to town and made 50 more,” she said.

“What I wanted to do is know that I’m helping kids that are often overlooked,” Weatherbee said.

While she was pleased with her project, empty stockings weren’t to her liking. So with each trip she made to a department store, Weatherbee purchased an assortment of toys, from coloring books and crayons to dolls and cars for younger children to book covers, pens and highlighters for teenagers, enough to fill each stocking. She also purchased Christmas candy to tuck into each sock.

“It was fun because every time I’d see something, I’d pick it up, Weatherbee said. “I tried to get stuff for every age.” She had as much fun making the stockings and picking out the items as the children will have in checking out their gifts on Christmas morning, she said.

When I get up [Christmas morning], I’m going to know that I helped other kids have some kind of a Christmas,” Weatherbee said.

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