The children’s religious education classes at St. Joseph’s church collected 700 pairs of socks for the homeless this last weekend. The sock drive took place before and after mass on Saturday and Sunday. They also invited people to donate 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The particular need for socks was stressed by the organizer Kate Hendrickx who said, “They are something people sometimes don’t think about when they give donations because they are not a big ticket item.”
Hendrickx said new socks can “prevent frostbite and different funguses.” She further explained that “It’s so important they stay clean,” but “it’s hard with no washer or home.”
Before the drive, Hendrickx said she tried to keep the goal reasonable. “I told the kids our goal was 250 pairs,” she said. They tripled their goal as they received 700 pairs over the weekend.
Hendrickx is also expecting a large donation by the children on Wednesday.
The original plan for distributing the socks to those in need was to partner with Churches United for the Homeless, an organization in which “over 60 Churches United to combat homelessness,” according to Hendrickx.
“With such an influx, I might be spreading it out amongst several groups,” Hendrickx said.
When asked how an average person can help with the issue of homelessness Hendrickx said, “Get together and make kits that include socks, chapstick, maybe a gift card to get food, basic hygiene products.” She explained that churches she knows do make these kits then drive around and hand them out to the needy.
Not only are people like Kate Hendrickx trying to keep the less fortunate from going without socks in the winter, there is also an ongoing battle between shelters in Fargo-Moorhead and the winter elements.
In late December, Churches United for the Homeless and other organizations were reaching out for more donations, volunteers and space for the homeless as temperatures plummeted. Gov. Mark Dayton even declared a state of emergency allowing the Moorhead armory to open as overflow housing from Dec. 27 to Jan. 4.
Most recently, Babs Coler, the director of development for Churches United for the Homeless, said between 600 and 800 people are without a home in the Fargo-Moorhead area on any given night. The CUFH shelter in Moorhead is utilizing chapel space to accommodate about 110 people a night.
“There’s a lot of need out there right now,” Coler said. In particular, Cooler says shelters are in need of volunteers and donations to pay for operations.