Socks for Seniors warms hearts, feet
To collect socks as part of Socks for Seniors, sign up online at socksforseniors.com.
JANESVILLE If you're looking for a warm, fuzzy project this holiday season, Jamie Coyne asks that you consider Socks for Seniors.
The annual community service project is in need of local coordinators in the Janesville area to help collect socks, said Coyne, director of the project.
New socks collected are given to residents of local nursing homes, he said.
The campaign kicked off in conjunction with Make a Difference Day in late October and continues through Christmas, Coyne said.
Coyne and his wife, Kitty Coyne, started Socks for Seniors 11 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, the volunteer-operated project has expanded into 250 cities and delivered 25,000 pairs of socks last year throughout the country.
"For so many years, we didn't count numbers or have an organized database," he said.
Socks for Seniors starts with one person, one box and one location.
"It's easy, and all the socks stay in the local Janesville area," Coyne said.
"If you have a nursing home, assisting living center or other senior community in mind for distribution great. If not, we will help connect you with a local senior community at the end of the sock drive," he said.
Collectors sign up at the project's website. Socks For Seniors founders stay in touch during the campaign, providing updates and answering questions. Collectors decorate collection boxes and find locations for them.
"That's all there is to it," Coyne said.
"It's a feel-good, low-cost holiday project that an entire community—family, workplaces, churches, civic groups or Scouts—can participate in,'' he said.
Coyne said some coordinators have gotten creative by sponsoring sock hops to promote the collection of socks for seniors.
"A pair of socks might seem insignificant, but above the fact they keep feet warm, we've found it's more. It's the interaction seniors get because of the socks. It's also a bright part to their day that someone thought enough of them to get them a gift,'' Coyne said.
All kinds of socks, including funny, funky and holiday styles, plus the traditional tube socks, are encouraged and will be accepted with the exception of grip slippers.
"Long after the distribution when seniors might not have anything to talk about, the socks might become a conversation starter," Coyne said.
Collecting socks doesn't cost anything or take a lot of time.
"We neither take or make money," he said.
"It's just a simple thing that could make a large difference in someone's life."