"Socktober-Toevember" sock drive with Lester Lattany, Tim Dunn, Cindy Dunn, Sarah Kinsker, Mary Ellen Miller, Emma Brock, Jan Jacobson, and Carlee Bradshaw with a collection of socks. (Sue Legg/Johnson City Press)
Inspired by YouTube sensation Kid President and his drive for a million pairs of new socks for homeless people in communities nationwide, Johnson City’s MarketingMel, Summit Leadership Foundation, Spine Sports Chiropractic and Appearances Hair Salon delivered 500 pairs of new socks for homeless children in the Johnson City area Monday.
United Way President and CEO Lester Lattany accepted the gift for distribution to homeless children served by the Johnson City Salvation Army, Family Promise and Good Samaritan Ministries just in time for Thanksgiving.
Marry Ellen Miller, from the MarketingMel public relations firm, kicked off the drive in mid-October after learning of Kid President’s online drive. Getting in late, Miller extended the drive through mid-November and dubbed it “Toevember.”
“‘Socktober,’ stamped by Kid President himself, was a movement to motivate 1 million people to donate socks to the homeless in their community,” Miller said. “I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our community who purchased new socks for those who really need them.
“Just last week at our United Way luncheon we met a formerly homeless mother and her daughter who benefited greatly from United Way agencies that helped them when they were in a jam. Knowing that these socks will go to families like this really puts a face to a need.”
Lattany said, “We are so lucky to live in such a giving community. The socks are greatly appreciated.”
Miller promised the local Socktober drive will not be the last. With more than 700 homeless students served by Johnson City Schools in the past school year alone, she said the company will work to grow the event in the Tri-Cities area next year.
“A new pair of socks is something everyone can relate to,” she said.
Carlee Bradshaw, co-owner of Appearances salon, said the Socktober drive was not a hard sell.
“At the hair salon, as soon as people saw it, they just went crazy,” Bradshaw said. “I think donating a little bit where they can makes people feel better. I’m very grateful to participate and help the homeless.”
Tim Dunne, of Spine Sports Chiropractic, said the response to the drive was gratifying.
“It’s good to see the spirit still lives in the United States,” he said. “We are very grateful to help serve those in need.”