Since 2007 Michael Bloomfield has been organizing collection, as well as purchase, of new socks for the homeless in Greater Victoria. In that time, he’s rallied a total of 102,500 pairs, with 10,000 this year alone.
The Socks Project started when Bloomfield learned that foot health problems were a big concern in the community. Bloomfield did some research about manufacturers who make socks in Canada, and found out Ontario-based McGregor Socks made nearly all of them.
“So I reached out to them and a beautiful relationship began,” Bloomfield said, of where he spends donated cash.
For 12 years Bloomfield has been gathering donations from the community to help make the exchange happen, with approximately $500,000 worth of socks collected overall.
“I do it from the side of my desk in my busy life because my life is good, and the most meaningful way I can say thank you, thank you, thank you is to do things that are helpful to other people,” he said.
Mallory Delarge is the coordinator at downtown Victoria’s Rock Bay Landing, where this year’s total collection of socks is stored before being distributed to 25 centres across the Capital Region.
“There’s health complications you can get if your feet stay damp, if they stay wet and you can’t dry out. There’s a lot of infections you can get,” Delarge said. “It seems like a really small gesture but it’s incredibly impactful for our folks, especially in the rain and wet weather. “
Delarge added that every year thousands of socks are requested, and that this new shipment won’t last long.
“They will absolutely be used, they’ll be used before we get out next shipment of socks,” she said.
For Frankie Burns, this is her first year living in shelters, and the first time she’s participating in the Socks Project program.
“I know that everybody’s dying wish is a clean pair of socks. Everyone asks for socks before they ask for gloves because once you get your feet wet, that’s it, you’re cold,” Burns said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program or in making donations can visit coolaid.org.