What's afoot? Second annual drive socks it to poverty
By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Reporter
KANSAS CITY - Imagine a line of socks lying head-to-toe, stretching from the Missouri River to St. Joseph Health Center. That's about 21 miles and, according to Loring Henderson, that's about how many socks were collected during Redemptorist Social Services' second annual "Sock it to Poverty" sock and underwear drive.
Marty Denzer/Key photo
Boxes and boxes wait to be filled with new socks and underwear for the needy.
Henderson, director of Redemptorist Social Services Center at 207 W. Linwood, said the drive this year was a huge success. Last September, the center collected over 8,000 pairs of new socks and more that 4,000 pairs of new underwear to distribute to clients of the center and 14 local agencies, including City Union Mission, the Salvation Army and clothes closets at Our Lady of Good Counsel and Our Lady of Guadalupe parishes. Two hundred pairs of heavy work socks were sent to rescue workers at the World Trade Center. By April 2002, the sock and underwear supply was depleted.
Paula Koch, Redemptorist Center's event coordinator, said the goal for this year's event was 15,000 pairs of new socks and 10,000 pairs of new underwear.
The social service center's mission includes emergency food, utility and rent assistance, clothing, health care maintenance and a seniors' activity program.
Parishes, schools and businesses held Silly Sock Sundays and Fridays when adults and children sported silly socks and brought new socks and underwear to church, school or business for donation to Redemptorist Center. Eighteen schools in the metropolitan Kansas City area participated.
Sept. 28 was the silly sock sorting party in the gym at Our Lady of Angels School. Students from participating schools earned community service hours sorting and bagging socks and underwear. Honorary co-chairs Kay Barnes, Mayor of Kansas City; Carlos Salazar, associate director, Hispanic Economic Development Corp; Lara Moritz, KMBC-TV 9 news anchor, and JoEllen Wurth, Redemptorist Center board member, modeled silly socks and helped judge nine categories of silly socks. Henderson said the winner of the longest socks was a pair of "silvery, spangly green socks that went above the model's knees." Other categories included prettiest, ugliest, loudest, shortest, male and female.
Despite the party atmosphere, Henderson said the real business was sorting and bagging the socks and underwear to distribute to the poor. A lawyer and a certified public accountant were among the auditors who randomly selected bags of socks or underwear to verify the count.
Henderson said the official count as of Sept. 30 stood at 14,935 pairs of new socks, and 5,600 pairs of new underwear. He said 300 more pairs of socks were collected late, and two pickups of socks and underwear were scheduled for Sept. 30. Henderson estimated the final tally would be about 16,000 pairs of socks and about 6,000 pairs of underwear.
Some businesses will be collecting after the United Way drive is completed, Henderson said. Koch said people could donate socks and underwear until November, when the food drives begin.