Christmas stockings give courage to cancer patients


  • Donations for the Stuffed With Love project are accepted until December 6
  • Item # 1 drop-off location: North Boulevard Church of Christ (1112 N. Rutherford Blvd)
  • Item # 2 drop off location: First Bank (615 Memorial Blvd)

Christmas time, cancer and COVID-19 can be a rough combination for chemotherapy patients.

But Smyrna volunteers from the Stuffed With Love Project hope to bring comfort and joy by delivering stockings to more than a dozen cancer treatment facilities in Middle Tennessee.

“These stockings bring just a little bit of joy, joy and encouragement at this difficult time when you have cancer in the midst of COVID, in the middle of Christmas,” said Jenifer Niederherfer, founder of Stuffed With Love.

This year is more necessary than ever, she said. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, patients must undergo chemotherapy treatments without the company of a loved one.

From left to right, Tammy Sandlin, Sherry Whitehead, both with North Boulevard Church of Christ and Michelle Clark and Jenifer Niederwerfer, filled the cancer patent pool on Monday, November 29, 2021 in Smyrna, as part of the Stuffed With project Love.

Niederwerfer came up with the idea for the padded stockings during breast cancer treatment in 2012. After beating “the monster” as she calls it, the cancer survivor launched her own initiative and collected 200 stockings to deliver to cancer patients.

That same year, Tammy Sandlin, a former Rutherford County culinary arts teacher, faced her first battle with ovarian cancer. North Boulevard Church of Christ, where Sandlin attends, provided comprehensive services to his family – from food trains to yard and household chores. It was a lifeline, she said, and she wanted to pay it off on the next.

The Sandlin Church has also created a cancer support group and assembled gift bags for chemotherapy patients over the Christmas period.

In 2017, Sandlin’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Six months later, she was battling ovarian cancer again.

Clinging to brotherhood and whatever lucidity they could muster, they joined Stuffed With Love. Then the North Boulevard cancer support group followed suit and partnered with the project.

“After seeing the miracles that God was doing, they wanted to be a part of it,” said Sandlin, who went into remission again in 2018.

Thanks to this partnership, around 500 stockings were distributed each year. And last year, in the midst of a pandemic, Stuffed With Love delivered 700 stockings to a dozen cancer centers.

“We will probably go beyond that,” Niederwerfer said.

This year’s project has special meaning for Sandlin after battling metastatic ovarian cancer for the third time.

“I’m a walking miracle,” Sandlin said, tears in his eyes.

“I know that God continues to give me these great miracles for my purpose and my purpose is to ensure that no one does it alone.”

Donations for the Stuffed With Love project are accepted until December 6. Items can be dropped off in Murfreesboro at the North Boulevard Church of Christ office, 1112 N. Rutherford Blvd., and at the First Bank main office, 615 Memorial Blvd.

You can also donate through the Wish List for Stuffed With Love on Amazon.

Christmas stocking ideas

  • Nice bars
  • Chex mix
  • Skinny popcorn
  • pretzels
  • Cracker packs
  • Gum
  • Granola bars
  • Lemon drops
  • Gelled
  • Cocoa and cider pouches
  • Tea bags
  • Peanut mix
  • Stick
  • Masks
  • Eye masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mini Crossword Books
  • Mini games
  • Back scraper
  • Fluffy socks / gloves
  • Toothbrush
  • Hats and headwear
  • Insulated water bottles

Contact journalist Nancy DeGennaro at [email protected] Keep up with restaurant news by joining Good Eats in the ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and follow Murfreesboro Eats on TikTok.


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