Gloria Dei in Kelso challenged St. Paul in Castle Rock to collect socks for the homeless in our area.

Did you know that socks are one of the most needed and least donated items for homeless people? Yes, it’s true, socks and underwear. The last couple of years have been very difficult on people living on the streets or “couch surfing” or whatever it is called when people don’t have a bed of their own to sleep.

 Of course, without a place to sleep, there come all sorts of potential dangers. Malnourishment and exposure are only the beginning.  Other problems such as assault, abuse, neglect, and rape are common. Anxiety, depression, drug abuse and addiction are common. 

It is easy to devalue someone when they are labeled. How many times have you heard it suggested “they should get a job” or “it is a result of bad choices” or “if they wanted, they could change their situation?” But the reality is often much more complex typically involving childhood trauma, lack of education, lack of opportunity, and lack of affordable housing. These are quickly compounded by the violence, poor sleep, poor hygiene, and other challenges.

When Gloria Dei challenged St. Paul to collect socks, it was a small act that we could engage competitively with our sister church in Kelso to meet a need in our community. And, you were amazing. Even though you were further away from stores to purchase socks, Earl Small quickly volunteered to buy socks on his regular trips to Longview. Then he asked Bob’s Sporting Goods to help, and they did. Bob’s gave us 70 percent off of the regular price on select socks and you made the most of the opportunity.  

Members of St. Paul collected and purchased 1216 pairs of socks. Gloria Dei collected 819 pairs. Together there were more than 2000 pairs of socks collected for the homeless in our area. What an amazing feat. It was truly gratifying to see how you stepped up and into the call to help. Our churches have a history of working with Community House, Family Promise, CORE, and the Longview homeless camp. This wasn’t the first outpouring of aid to our fellow human beings, but it was an incredibly productive effort. 2035 pairs of socks collected for our neighbors in need.

Since our two churches collected this many socks in a single month. I wonder what could be done if we combine with other churches in our conference and area? What good and impact could we make together? If you have ideas on a worthwhile project to engage competitively with our sisters and brothers in Christ, then I would like to hear about it. I have already heard a few ideas (‘Undy Sunday’, and ‘Backpack Packs’).

I anticipate bringing your ideas forward during our next conference pastors gathering. Let me know your thoughts. This coming together to help others in our world is the story of Jesus. It is the story of hope, and it is the story of Easter. God saw our need and met us at the point of our need and gives us hope. And God continues to meet us in our need, journeying alongside us and in Him we have hope!  God’s work, our hands…and feet.