ENGLEWOOD — Socks for Seniors is a non-profit community service project that organizes, collects and distributes new socks for seniors in communities all over the country.
The holidays are a fun time of year with all the holiday work parties, family gatherings, meetings with old friends topped off with all the bells, whistles, hustle and bustle of the season. It’s the friendliest and most giving time of year but, for some it can also be a depressing time of year and our seniors can get lost in the shuffle.
Each year, thousands of lonely and financially challenged seniors struggle with the holiday blues. They dread facing the holiday season alone – some being without family or friends, some with the isolation of being a widow or widower. Some seniors just being away from children and grandchildren produces extreme loneliness that’s exaggerated by festivities of the season.
Socks For Seniors and it’s volunteers have one priority this Holiday Season and that is to bring holiday cheer along with a pair of new socks to warm the hearts and cover the cold feet of our elderly seniors. The Socks for Seniors program benefits those living alone and in nursing homes and yes even those seniors that are homeless.
“Socks for Seniors began accidentally 15 years ago in Columbus, Ohio when I was visiting senior communities all over Ohio doing a music therapy program,” said Jamie Coyne. “Often my wife, Kitty would go along and she got to know many of the residents. One day she noticed that one lady who was normally in good spirits wasn’t quite herself. When asked what the problem was she replied, ‘My feet are freezing. If I just had a warm new pair of socks to keep my feet warm!’ Her socks were in bad shape. They were worn out and had holes in them.”
The solution seemed simple and Coyne’s wife then left only to return a few minutes later with a new brand new pair of socks.
“Not only did it serve its purpose but it made the lady’s day,” Coyne noted. “We learned quickly that you can’t do for just one – others in the dining room that day took notice and wanted a pair of socks too. Easy enough. During our next visit we took socks for everyone. And Socks for Seniors was born.”
The program grew slowly over several years as people would hear about it. In 2011 Coyne decided with some effort it could grow into a national program one area at a time and it is currently in over 500 cities nationwide. It’s easy to get started. It only takes one person, one box and one location to get a program running and it doesn’t take time or money.
“We neither take nor make money from the program. We don’t collect money, we collect socks,” Coyne said. “We like for all socks to stay in the local communities in which they are collected. If a volunteer doesn’t have an outlet in mind we network to connect them with one. We kick things off annually on ‘Make A Difference Day’ (the last Saturday in October) and go through Christmas. Some programs start in October while others don’t begin until right before Christmas.”
The Coynes are looking for local area coordinators near Englewood to help with collecting socks this year. To collect Socks For Seniors – please sign up at: www.socksforseniors.com/register.html
By registering at the website listed above the Coynes can stay in touch with volunteers during the campaign with updates and answering any questions you may have. You will also receive an email with signs and logos for the drive and other information.
Host a Sock Drive. It all starts with one person, one box, one location.
“It’s easy…and all the socks stay in the local Englewood area,” Coyne added “If you have a nursing home, assisted living center or other senior community in mind for distribution – great! If not, we will help connect you with a local senior community for distributing the socks at the end of the sock drive. If you can decorate a box and find a location or locations for boxes – that’s all there is to it. Then together we can promote the sock drive.”
Reach the national office of Socks For Seniors at: www.socksforseniors.com