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Charity seeks socks for Grand Forks seniors

An Ohio charity group is looking to extend its donation network to the Grand Forks area. Socks for Seniors, based in Columbus, collects new socks and distributes them to nursing home and assisted living residents. "The best part is all the socks ...

Hanes socks
(PRNewsFoto/Hanes, John Walsh)

An Ohio charity group is looking to extend its donation network to the Grand Forks area.

Socks for Seniors, based in Columbus, collects new socks and distributes them to nursing home and assisted living residents.

"The best part is all the socks collected stay local," said Jamie Coyne, one of its founders.

The organization has donation centers in 50 cities across the United State and is looking to increase that number to 200 by year's end said Coyne.

The program is currently looking for an area coordinator. Individuals, church groups, organizations and business can all fill this role Coyne said.

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"It's really easy to start," he said. "All you need is one person, one box and one location."

The Sock for Seniors program began accidentally ten years ago in Columbus, where Coyne and his wife Kitty conducted music therapy in their local nursing homes.

One resident appeared to be having a bad day. She told the Coynes if she had a new pair of socks she would feel better.

The next time the couple returned to the home, they brought her socks -- and enough for everyone else.

"It's amazing something so simple made their day better," Conye said.

So what kind of sock do seniors like? Tube and crew socks will do, but pairs with fun designs and shapes are also desired.

For some residents, the only interaction they may have is with medical personnel and staff members Coyne said.

"The socks become a conversation piece," he said.

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Last week, Coyne received a surprise call from someone willing to help the program.

Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.com, offered his assistance to Socks for Seniors.

"He asked 'What can I do to help?'" said Conye.

Newmark helped secure of donation of 1,000 pairs of socks from Planet Sox, a manufacturer and importer of private label, branded and character family socks and related accessories.

Conye says he doesn't keep track of numbers for every city but estimates that Socks for Seniors collects around 100,000 socks each year, with about 15,000 coming from Columbus, Ohio.

This year's campaign runs until Dec. 23.

How to help: If you're interested in becoming the Grand Forks area coordinator or getting involved with Socks for Seniors, contact the Coynes at (614) 239-9688. You can also visit www.socksforseniors.com for more information.

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