For the seventh year in a row, students in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Rho Tau Chi military service fraternity made a difference in the lives of homeless veterans in Indiana County and western Pennsylvania through the Homeless Heroes Holiday Stocking Project.

The project provides toiletries and other necessities to homeless veterans at the holidays; the toiletries are “packaged” in Christmas stockings. More than 1,300 holiday stockings were assembled at the Dec. 2 “stocking stuffing” party.

Altogether, more than 16,300 stockings have been distributed to homeless veterans over the past seven years.

During the fall semester, Rho Tau Chi’s 25 members collected items for the stockings, including shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, plastic travel toothbrush holders, washcloths, individually wrapped bars of soap, plastic soap holders, $10 gift cards to Walmart or Giant Eagle, crew socks, razors, gloves and winter hats, 17- to 19-inch stockings, and drawstring backpacks.

Riley David, a senior medical imaging major from Mansfield, is past president of Rho Tau Chi, and leading the project for the second year in a row.

David, daughter of Krista and Bill David, is a 2020 graduate of North Penn Mansfield Junior Senior High School. In addition to her membership in ROTC and Rho Tau Chi, she is active with IUP’s Haven Project for domestic violence education and survivor support and participates in intramural volleyball and IUP blood drives.

“Leading a project that gives stockings to homeless veterans has been an immensely gratifying journey,” David said. “Witnessing the project's successful completion is more than a professional accomplishment; it’s a testament to the collective compassion and dedication of everyone involved. The fulfillment in knowing that we’ve made a positive impact on the lives of homeless veterans, even if through a small gesture, is immeasurable and serves as a powerful reminder of the change that can be achieved when you put your mind to it.”

The stockings, once filled, are distributed to residents of the Indiana County Veteran’s Parsonage and to the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania and Shepherd’s Heart Fellowships and Veteran’s Home in Pittsburgh.

For more information about the project, persons may contact David at