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Together Center collects 1,200 pairs of socks for the Eastside homeless community
The Together Center's March Sock Drive, extended a week by popular demand, concluded with the pickup of more than 650 pairs of socks from Alexander, Morford & Woo in Seattle. A grand total of 1,200 pairs of socks were gathered for use by homeless men, women and children on the Eastside.
"When our initial goal to collect 480 pairs of socks for 40 people was quickly surpassed, we increased our goal to 1,040 pairs to meet the weekly sock needs of more people," said drive leader and Together Center operations coordinator Sondra Sciola. "Together Center's drive will also now provide socks to Tent City as well, where 90 people are in residence."
The 18 human services agencies at the Together Center supported Sciola’s suggestion of a drive and socks have been delivered by various agency staff members throughout the month, including A Regional Coalition for Housing, Eastside Cultural Navigator Program, HealthPoint, Lake Washington School District Transition Academy, Public Health Seattle & King County and Together Center board members and staff.
Word spread and groups off campus joined the drive as well, including Leadership Eastside, Arden Realty, Assistance League of the Eastside and Alexander, Morford & Woo, a Brown & Riding Company, an insurance firm now operating in Seattle.
Sam Alexander, company partner, is a resident of Sammamish and Seattle.
"I see the homeless sleeping in Seattle doorways every morning when I go out to walk my dog. I have realized: these are our neighbors. When I was recovering from a health event, people provided food and transportation and more," he said. "I wanted to provide the same kind of help to our homeless neighbors."
The company started a competition to see who would gather the most socks. The winning team was to receive a pizza, but decided instead to donate the pizza funds to buy more socks. Similarly, employees shared in a winning lottery ticket of about $160. Those employees too decided to direct the funds to more socks, Alexander said. He added that his staff also makes about 60 peanut butter sandwiches each Thursday to deliver to the local mission.
Joe Ingram of Vet's Edge has helped to distribute many of the first donated socks. Most homeless people use and then need to dispose of one pair of socks each week due to lack of laundry facilities and heavy use. The balance of the socks will be delivered to Tent City this week.
Together Center is a nonprofit agency that operates a regional human services campus. One of the first nonprofit multi-tenant centers in the nation, Together Center was designed first and foremost to lower barriers to finding help. Where East King County residents once needed to travel from Bothell to Renton or beyond to find help at individual locations, people from throughout the Eastside, now find comprehensive assistance at one location in downtown Redmond. Services include shelter, medical and dental care, child care assistance, youth and family counseling and more. Tens of thousands are helped yearly.