Sockin’ away the socks for Guelph’s weak
Ten thousand socks — that’s what Guelph’s Helper Bees are hoping to collect this month to help people in need.
The volunteer outreach group, which operates out of the Church of the Apostles, launched its Socktober campaign Oct. 1, intending to collect 5,000 pairs of new and gently used socks.
“Socks are so much more than just socks. They’re a donation that provides health, warmth and comfort and reminds our community members that we care about them and their health, from head to toe,” Your Downtown Guelph Friends director Kate Nixon said in a news release.
The Friends is an outreach program that distributes free meals, personal hygiene products and clothing twice a week at the corner of Wyndham and Woolwich streets. They will hand out the socks collected by the Helper Bees to people who need them on Fridays and Sundays.
This is the second year the Helper Bees have run a sock drive.
In 2021, more than 4,000 pairs of socks were collected and distributed in downtown Guelph, the release said.
“A challenge from last year was storing all the socks that we collected,” Helper Bees co-ordinator John Dennis said in the release. “Four thousand pairs of socks take up a lot of room.”
This year, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church has offered to store the socks that will be distributed throughout the winter.
The church, located at 161 Norfolk St., will also be one of a few donation locations. People can also bring socks to the Guelph Tool Library in Old Quebec Street and the Church of the Apostles, 86 Glasgow St. N.
Any and all socks are wanted, as long as they are clean and in good condition.
“Such a simple way to show our love to our neighbours who are experiencing homelessness and living in poverty,” St. Andrew’s Church’s Rev. John Borthwick said in the release. “We look forward to exceeding our goal and keeping lots of feet warm and dry this winter.”
The Socktober drive is not the only initiative of its kind to run in Guelph. The ToastyToes Guelph campaign, which started in 2018, also collected thousands of pairs of socks for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
However, on Oct. 3, campaign organizer and founder Allison Mitchell announced via social media that the ToastyToes campaign would be discontinued.
“While ToastyToes Guelph will not be continuing, there is still a need for socks in our community,” she said in her post, asking people to consider donating directly to organizations the campaign has supported in the past.
The list includes: Hope House, Chalmers Centre, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, Wyndham House, Guelph Food Bank, Parkwood Gardens Neighbourhood Group, West Willow Village Neighbourhood Group, Sanguen Health Centre, Stepping Stone, and Michael House Pregnancy and Parenting Support Services.