Two charity drives for socks are kicking up the spirit of giving in the South Okanagan this holiday season.
Sharon Guy has been visiting the Penticton Soupateria to hand out hot chocolate with her niece for over a decade. A friend of theirs, a homeless man whom they met during their yearly tradition, died and in his honour they started adding a call out for fresh, clean socks.
“He said, whenever we asked him what was the most important thing, he always said clean, dry socks,” Guy said.
The project is called Operation Darren in memory of the man.
Now Guy is collecting socks at two locations in Penticton during the lead up to Christmas Day when she will hand them out. The two locations are the Fraternal Order of the Eagles at 1197 Main St. and Fastlane Corner Shop at 410 Wiltse Blvd.
“They expect us every year. It’s kind of like, a breath of ease that they made it another year, for us. It’s a good feeling knowing that they made it another year,” Guy said.
On Boxing Day, Guy and her niece go to Vernon to hand out more of the same.
“Last year we had such a large response we went to Oliver and we went to a couple places in Kelowna, it was just really wonderful,” Guy said. “There’s not a lot of people who go down there on Christmas Day.”
The drive has grown into Guy distributing donations for most of the week following Dec. 25.
There is room for more than just socks as donations, but they are in high demand for the homeless population.
Last year a surprise donor came forward with around 125 pairs of socks.
“I cried, I cried, it was just like … wow,” Guy said. “I was just so overwhelmed.”
The drive totalled 575 pairs of socks donated last year.
Another drive, is taking place in Summerland, looking for toques and socks, with a goal of collecting 10,000 or more across all Retirement Concepts communities, which includes Summerland Seniors Village.
The drive started Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15, with the donated socks and toques distributed on Dec. 16. The socks and toques are provided for homeless individuals, Salvation Army and more.
Collection boxes are set up at all 25 Retirement Concepts communities in B.C., Calgary and Montreal. The Summerland Seniors Village is inviting the public, businesses, organizations, Chamber of Commerce members, city employees and anyone else interested to bring down a pair of socks and a toque to 12803 Atkinson Rd. in Summerland.