Socks for Seniors warms hearts, and feet

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LOWER TOWNSHIP – Local newspaperman Chris South left his post at the press table at a council meeting here last month to make his pitch to officials and residents to gather Socks for Seniors.

“This email came across my screen, and I thought, I can do this,” said South, editor of The Cape May Star & Wave and a resident of West Cape May. “The goal is to gather a pair of new socks for every resident of the Cresthaven Nursing home here. That’s 180 pairs. I’d really like to go further, so we can distribute to homebound seniors as well.”

The local campaign is part of a nationwide project. Each year Socks for Seniors hosts an annual “Sock Drive,” according to the group’s website, Founded in 2002, the group wants to keep seniors “from getting lost in the shuffle.”

“Socks for Seniors and its volunteers have one priority this holiday season and that is to bring holiday cheer along with a pair of new socks to warm the hearts and cover the cold feet of our elderly seniors. The Socks for Seniors program benefits those living alone and in nursing homes and, yes, even those seniors that are homeless,” said the group’s organizers.

South said he has placed a collection box at his office, located in West Cape May, but asked permission to place a collection box at the township hall here as well.

“It’s one pair of new socks – they are not taking any money donations. The information is right on the side of box,” said South, as he held up a fuzzy pair of socks, complete with “gripper” soles and penguin designs.

“The more quirky, the more interesting – the group encourages that,” he said. “We will distribute the collected socks at the Cresthaven Christmas party.

“In your own home environment, how many socks do you lose? They go somewhere into that black hole and you only have one sock left. I imagine that must happen constantly in a nursing home,” he said.

The Socks for Seniors organizers do collect traditional tube socks in addition to the “funnier, funkier holiday styles” as well. The national campaign kicked off on Oct. 27 and runs until Dec. 23.

South also made his pitch for the program at the county freeholder meeting last Tuesday night. “Chris reached out to me after he got the email from the Socks for Seniors people,” said Lenora Boninfante, Cape May County’s communications officer. “The county is completely on board with this project. It is an accessible, low cost way for people to brighten someone else’s holdiday.”

Boninfante said that, as of Dec. 11, the effort was approaching the goal of 415 pairs of new socks for each Cresthaven resident and senior Meals on Wheels participants.

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