Spare a pair for Guelph church’s Socktober initiative

Volunteers from Guelph's Church of the Apostles are collecting donations of socks this month to help people experiencing homelessness keep warm this winter.Volunteers from Guelph's Church of the Apostles are collecting donations of socks this month to help people experiencing homelessness keep warm this winter.

Warm, dry feet for people experiencing homelessness — that is the simple goal behind a Guelph collection drive that runs all month long.

It’s called Socktober, and it was started by the Church of the Apostles’ Kitchen Bees, a volunteer outreach group that provides food to people in need.

This month, they are aiming to provide not just food, but socks — 1,000 pairs of socks — to people in need through local anti-poverty initiative the Bench.

“The Kitchen Bees learned a lot about socks and foot health when preparing to launch the program,” Kitchen Bees co-ordinator John Dennis said in a news release.

“Foot conditions are highly prevalent among homeless individuals, with up to two thirds reporting a foot health concern, approximately one quarter of individuals visiting a health professional, and one fifth of individuals requiring further followup due to the severity of their condition according to a recent study,” he said.

“For many, a pair of dry socks and good fitting shoes or boots can have a profound effect on their well-being.”

The socks are being collected at the church, 86 Glasgow St. N., where there is a donation box set up just inside the parking lot door.

The box is accessible Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but Dennis said donations can also be left just outside the door.

“The very first donation we got, someone just tied them to the door,” he said.

The socks will be distributed through the Bench, co-ordinated by Ed Pickersgill.

“He said socks are critical,” Dennis said of Pickersgill. “He gives away about 5,000 pairs a year.”

Sometimes without the facilities or the money for laundry, socks get worn until they become unwearable, so having fresh pairs is valuable, explained Dennis.

And they don’t need to be new.

“New socks are great, but also good condition, clean used socks,” Dennis said, noting all sizes — men’s, women’s and children’s — are needed.

“Medium weight socks are the most valuable for colder seasons, as they can be doubled up if needed,” Pickersgill said in the release. “Donors should avoid providing very thick socks, as they can cause overheating and dampness which can result in more chilliness.”

Though it’s not a deal-breaker, the preference is also for something plain, rather than socks with colourful patterns, the release said.

Dennis said the Kitchen Bees also reached out to some other churches for help with the initiative, and a couple of those have signed on, too. Donations are also being collected by Dublin Street United Church, 68 Suffolk St., and River of Life Church, 40 Margaret St.


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