Community Connections is starting its annual Holiday Sock Drive again this year. It’s the 7th year in a row since employee Kathleen Kloep first started the drive in 2013.
They got a head start on collecting adult socks this year, due to a large donation from a New York-based company called Bombas. Bombas sent a thousand pairs of socks, in several adult sizes, across the country, all the way to Ketchikan. Since Community Connections serves many adults with disabilities in Ketchikan and on Prince of Wales, the socks are sure to be put to good use. People need new clothes throughout the year – about a month ago, one of their customers (who experiences a disability) needed some new socks, and so they were able to provide him with a new pair right away.
Because of this initial donation, the sock drive’s focus this year will be on collecting socks and outerwear for younger children, as well as collecting cash to purchase warm coats.
Community Connections collaborates with local businesses to set out festive baskets and little coin boxes around the communities of Ketchikan and Prince of Wales.
Mid-December, staff gather up all the donations and make small gift boxes (usually including cookies!). Oftentimes, Community Connections customers will be the ones baking the cookies. Perhaps because of a disability, they haven’t had the chance to learn cooking skills at home. It’s a chance to develop those life skills: planning, shopping for ingredients, and baking.
Last year, over a hundred families received a sock-and-cookie gift. Gifts are delivered to folks who can’t get out of their home, seniors, people who cannot afford new winter clothes, or people that don’t have a lot of family to visit them during the holiday season. For a person who doesn’t leave their house much, even a short visit can remind them that they are still an appreciated member of the community. It’s a reminder that people still care.
And it’s not just one staff person who delivers the gifts – it’s a team effort. Some are delivered by staff that work with certain families, while others are delivered by Community Connections customers themselves, as part of building skills like communication, safely navigating the town, and interacting with others.
Several local organizations are sponsoring the sock drive this year, including IBEW, Welsh Whiteley Architects, Southeast Alaska Resources, the Ketchikan Softball Association, Coastal Real Estate Group, Davies-Barry, and Jay Johnson CPA. With their help, Community Connections is able to spread the word in local media, and buy a few extra warm coats.
To join the festivities and contribute to the sock drive, look for wicker baskets and cash boxes around Ketchikan and Prince of Wales. See the full list of “drop sites”, locations where you can drop off sock donations.
Community Connections provides individualized, customer-guided support to seniors, adults with developmental disabilities, children with behavioral or mental health challenges, and families with very young children (birth to 3).