By RACHEL BRANT
Bremerton Patriot Staff writer
January 15, 2009 · Updated 2:00 PM
County Kiwanis clubs collect
4,000 pairs of socks
for the homeless.
People have heard of collecting hats, coats and blankets for the homeless, but socks?
The Kiwanis clubs of Kitsap County, including the Silverdale, Bremerton, Central Kitsap and Poulsbo clubs, collected more than 4,000 pairs of socks Saturday, Jan. 10 for homeless people throughout the county.
“The funny thing is we only did it for four hours at each store,” said Angela Sell, the Silverdale Kiwanian who coordinated the event.
The clubs stood outside the Bremerton Wal-Mart, Fred Meyer and Poulsbo Wal-Mart Jan. 10 asking shoppers to donate new men’s, women’s, children’s and babies’ socks to the cause.
“We were just hoping to get 1,000 socks this year, but we were amazed,” Sell said.
The Kiwanis clubs set up outside the Poulsbo Wal-Mart last year to collect the socks, but, with the slumping economy, they decided to expand to other locations this year in hopes of at least matching last year’s total, according to Sell.
“You hear so much about the economy and how bad it is and then we collected more than 4,000 socks,” Sell said. “It’s amazing that people could still give. It’s just amazing.”
Sell said the Kitsap Continuum of Care Coalition told them they needed clean socks more than anything for the homeless, so the Kiwanis clubs set out to gather the goods.
“When you think homeless, most people don’t think socks,” she said. “Lots of people didn’t think there were homeless in Kitsap County.”
The Continuum of Care Coalition collected the socks from Sell’s Silverdale office Wednesday. They will be distributed to homeless people at the end of the month during the annual homeless count.
Extra socks will be donated to food banks, the Benedict House in Bremerton and other community organizations and services who will distribute them to those who need clean socks.
“Asking for socks brings a different awareness to homelessness in Kitsap County,” Sell said.
Sell is still impressed with the outpouring of community support. She said almost everyone wears clean socks on a regular basis, so people can easily relate to people in need of the footwear.
“They’d say, ‘That’s all you need is socks?’” she said. “Socks — people can understand that. Everybody puts on a clean pair of socks every morning.”
Sell said the Wal-Marts and Fred Meyer didn’t offer special deals on socks for the “Simply Socks” drive, but people still turned out and bought thousands of pairs of socks.
“It is just socks. It’s not that big of a money-ticket item,” she said.
Sell said everyone from children to senior citizens donated socks or cash to the drive and some children even used their Christmas money to buy socks for the homeless.
“The community was amazing,” she said. “People never cease to amaze you.”