MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — As an employee at the Union Rescue Mission, John Barber knows how much little things mean to those who are either homeless or struggling to make financial ends meet.
Something as simple as dry, comfortable socks can make a big difference, especially for people who may not be able to wash clothes on a regular basis or are limited in how much clothing they can carry, he said.
That's why Barber — along with representatives from the Shenandoah Women's Center — were happy Tuesday morning when approximately 500 pairs of socks were donated to the local nonprofit organizations.
The donation represented a cooperative effort between the Martinsburg AARP chapter and Royce Too LLC, which has a distribution center and warehouse in town.
AARP President Ricardo P. Stith praised the company for its generosity and noted how many local people will benefit because of this donation.
Stith and other chapter members were on hand to talk about the project before the group gathered for a luncheon meeting at Hoss's Family Steak and Sea House.
A founder of the local group, Stith said the chapter got underway in 2009 and now has about 54 members. Other elected officials include vice president Sylvester Blye, secretary Pam Toth and treasurer Karen Kelly.
Part of the group's continuing goal is public service — members bring food items to donate locally — as well as to help educate them about important issues such as health care, Stith said.
"We also put out requests to people about how they can help us, and when we asked the sock people, they responded in a big way. They have been very responsive and giving — it is just hard to put into words how much this means," Stith said, adding that the company brought an additional case of socks Tuesday on top of the ones they'd already donated earlier in the year.
He said those had been stockpiled and will now be part of a holiday outreach effort.
Teri Coffey, who was accompanied by co-workers Matt Harwood and Sandy Hatfield, said the company regularly donates socks to worthy causes.
"And it feels good to be able to do that right here at home because we know there are a lot of people who can use them. We're making this donation so that they can keep warm in the winter months," Coffey said, gesturing toward several nearby boxes of men's and women's socks.
Barber said the socks will help the mission's permanent residents as well as men who may only stop by for a night. They will also be helpful since the organization supplies clothing vouchers, he said.
Shenandoah Women's Center Executive Director Ann Smith smiled as Stith helped put some boxes in her car, before thanking him again for the donation.
She said it will be used as part of the shelter's Christmas giving program. It helps shelter clients as well as individuals who have been receiving services throughout the year, Smith said.
"Whatever we get, we give back to our clients," she said.
Individuals, organizations and churches participate in the program by donating items ranging from clothes to other gifts for the children, Smith said.
Anyone interested in helping with this holiday program by sponsoring a family should contact Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the shelter at 304-263-8522.
Information from: The Journal, http://journal-news.net/