June 24th, 2024

Nord-Bridge joins campaign to ‘Sock It To ‘Em’

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on November 12, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Charlene Kocken and Gail Petrie sort through the first few pairs of socks donated to the Sock It To 'Em campaign earlier this week at the Nord-Bridge Senior Centre.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

A campaign that started 22 years ago to provide socks for children in local schools and people in need, has expanded to include seniors in the community through Nord-Bridge Senior Centre.

Sock It To ‘Em, a campaign that collects new socks of all sizes and styles, and monetary donations to purchase new socks, started in 2000 when Gail Petrie worked for a school in the Lethbridge School Division and started to realize some children had holes in their socks or did not have appropriate socks for cold weather.

“I was sitting with my staff and having a coffee and we said that there was a lot of kids that were coming to school without boots and gloves and bare feet, so I said to them, we should start collecting socks and we’ll just sock it to ’em and we’ll see if the school district will help us collect socks for needy children and for the homeless,” said Petrie.

She said to date they have collected 18,000 pairs of socks. But unfortunately they had to put a pause on the campaign through the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, this year to celebrate their comeback and to include more people, they decided to partner up with Nord-Bridge Senior Centre, not only as a collection point, but also to distribute socks to the seniors that attend the centre and others in the community.

After not talking to Petrie for a while due to the pandemic, Charlene Kocken, who is the senior systems navigator at Nord-Bridge, ran into Petrie and ask her about the Sock It To ‘Em campaign.

“One day Gail came through the door and I said ‘Hey Gail we need to get going on the socks again’, and she said ‘Are you up to it Charlene? If you are I will show you the ropes’ and I said ‘let’s get going on it’,” said Kocken.

Kocken, who had also worked with LSD in the past, recalled the campaign and how successful it was and thought it would be a good idea to include seniors as she has noticed the need for them, now that she works with an older population.

“As a social worker I do see a lot of seniors struggling just trying to make rent and get food and just to get clothing, so to have warm socks will help them a lot,” said Kocken.

She said some seniors need compression socks to help them with leg pains, and those can be costly and some of them cannot afford them, so she is hoping that they will get some of those donated as well or money to be able to purchase some.

Nord-Bridge Senior Centre program coordinator Ashley Kern said she along with other staff have noticed some seniors coming into the centre with holes in their socks, which also prompted them to take part in the campaign.

“They just need new socks, it keeps them warm, and it’s a little thing but it goes a long way. If your feet are cold you are just freezing all day long, especially when it gets cold in the winter,” said Kern.

The campaign started on Nov. 1 and goes until Dec. 15, which will be the day all the socks will form the ‘sock mountain’ according to Petrie, which will be built by children from the participating schools and seniors from Nord-Bridge.

“On December the 15th their representatives will come here and they will take as many socks as they feel they need, that could be 2000 or 3000 pairs of socks each, as we have been receiving roughly 10,000 every year,” said Petrie.

Cash donations are being accepted until Dec. 9, to give them enough time to make the purchases.

Donations can be dropped off at any school within the Lethbridge School Division, the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division or Palliser Regional School Division.

The socks will be distributed among the YWCA Harbor House, Streets Alive, Woods Homes, Lethbridge Homeless Shelter and Nord-Bridge Senior Centre.

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