Our Story

Founder LeeAnn Petersen

The Story of Stockings from Karen


Stockings from Karen was was founded in 2014 in Washington, DC by former foster youth LeeAnn Petersen and is a tribute to her foster parents Karen and Dave Schwartzkopf.  The Schwartzkopf’s opened their home and hearts to foster kids in San Bernardino County, California in the early 1980s and served over 100 foster children through the years.  The sudden loss of their own 12 year old daughter to a brain aneurysm is what prompted the Schwartzkopf’s to get their foster license.  While they took boys and girls of all ages in need, the Schwartzkopf home became known as being particularly successful with raising teenage girls. 

LeeAnn arrived at the Schwartzkopf home in November 1984, the day after her 15th birthday. That Christmas, her first in foster care, LeeAnn received her first ever Christmas stocking.  LeeAnn fondly remembers the care and love that Karen put in to her and her foster siblings’ Christmas stockings – each one tailored to its prospective owner.  All stockings had the usual staples of teen hygiene care and maintenance: deodorant, shaving razors, mouthwash, tooth brush, lip balm, hair bands, barrettes, lotion. Then there were the items that made you feel beautiful: makeup, nail polish, hosiery, earrings.  Karen would always add a few things to customize the stocking for each child. For LeeAnn it meant something with her topaz birthstone and something related to sports, music or fashion. Whether Karen knew it or not, these stockings built confidence and gave the girls a sense of self-esteem and pride.  To LeeAnn the stocking represented stability in a time of emotional upheaval. Most of all, the stockings let the girls know someone cared about them enough to make them feel special.

In 2014 SFK delivered 40 stockings to CASA  of Washington, D.C.  In 2015 SFK delivered 162 stockings – 40 to CASA of D.C., 40 to CASA of Prince Georges County, 30 to CASA of Montgomery County, 10 to Carroll County, 10 to Frederick County, 22 to SCAN Northern Virginia and 10 to the Mesa Grande Indians of CA.  In 2016 we donated 200 stockings to those same counties and added Ann Arundel County in Maryland. In 2017 we delivered 300 stockings and added Winchester and Fairfax Counties in Virginia and Baltimore County in Maryland.

SFK Featured on People.com

In December 2017, Stockings from Karen was featured on People.com. Please CLICK HERE to read the article and see the Skype interview.