Tanara Oliveira/News Staff
With the rainy season having arrived, Victoria Cool Aid Society has started its yearly sock fundraiser to keep warm the feet of people who need it most.
The weather forecast for Victoria indicates weeks of rainy weather, which creates an additional obstacle for the city’s unhoused population. In an effort to ease their discomfort, the society and Kia Victoria are launching a campaign to collect 10,000 pairs of socks.
“More people than ever are living outdoors and sometimes they never go inside,” said Kellie Guarasci, clinical nurse lead for the society. “And most of those people are wearing old shoes that are not at all waterproof.”
Guarasci emphasized the challenges faced by those without stable housing. Many unhoused individuals wear their shoes continuously, leading to not only discomfort but also severe health issues. The lack of physical contact and isolation experienced by them underscores the importance of dignified care, Guarasci said.
Guarasci shared that during winter, she offers socks to nearly everyone she encounters at the Cool Aid Community Health Centre.
“We see lots of things when it comes to foot health,” Guarasci said. “Everything from needing help with basic maintenance, to sores and lesions that can become infected and even lead to amputation if not caught in time.”
Through the generosity of donors, this campaign has distributed 132,520 pairs of socks, with a total value exceeding $583,522, to thousands of individuals in need over the years. Cool Aid secures these socks at a discounted rate from Perri’s Socks, and La-Z-Boy Furniture contributes by covering the shipping costs.
In 2021, Kia joined the cause with a $5,000 matching campaign, further enhancing the impact. Thanks to Kia’s pledge to match every $5 donation, up to $5,000, Cool Aid can extend its sock distribution even further.
This year’s campaign will continue until Nov. 30, offering ample opportunity for individuals to contribute. Donations can be made online at coolaid.org/socks, via phone at 250-383-1977, or in person at Kia Victoria.