April 08, 2021

Well-heeled drive generates 7,500 pairs of socks for mid-Hudson homeless shelters

Author: Liza Frenette
Source:  NYSUT Communications
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Socks Drive
Caption: Left to Right: Laurie Silver, Retiree Council 13; Flip Gertler, President Elect, Wappingers CT; Pat McCarthy, President Retiree Council 13; Scott Via, President Onteora TA; Megan Frandino, VP Onteora TA

Socks made of cotton, nylon, wool, bamboo and many fabric blends will soon be slipped on wanting feet.

“We collected tube socks, sports socks, dress socks and anything and everything in between,” said Pasquale Delli Carpini, president of the Wappingers Congress of Teachers. The tally for the WCT — with 900 members and 600 retirees — was more than 5,000 pairs of socks, Delli Carpini said.

“Socks are among the most requested items at homeless shelters. Guests walk an average of 14 miles per day,” said Jeff Benton, a NYSUT labor relations specialist for the Mid-Hudson Regional Office who helped coordinate the drive along with NYSUT staff member Patricia Cooney.

In addition to providing support and care for feet, socks also provide warmth, a vital component in the Northeast, where nights remain cold even throughout spring.

Local unions are bringing the paired bundles to Rural Sullivan Housing Corporation in Monticello and Dutchess Outreach in Poughkeepsie. The NYSUT Regional Office is bringing socks to mid-Hudson agencies such as the Darmstadt Homeless Shelter, Catholic Charities, Peoples Place and Boys & Girls Club.

In the Onteora School District, the NYSUT unions had each building president put out a box with a “Sock it to COVID” logo on it provided by NYSUT. Within 10 days the Onteora Teachers Association and Onteora Non-Teaching Employees Association had collected 550 pairs of socks.

Socks Drive

(Left to Right: Pat McCarthy, President Retiree Council 13;  Flip Gertler, President-Elect, Wappingers CT; Patricia Cooney, NYSUT; Scott Via, President Onteora TA; Laurie Silver, Retiree Council 13)

“Everybody needs socks — kids all the way through adults,” said M. Scott Via, president of the 155-member Onteora TA in Ulster County. The union traditionally hosts a coat drive each fall but was unable to do so due to COVID-19 restrictions. The drive helped union members pull together again for a purpose.

“It’s a great cause,” said Via.

The campaign ran on the one-year anniversary of when the pandemic suddenly shut down the country. Participants in the sock drive included Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers and School-Related Professionals, Wappingers CT, Onteora TA and Onteora NTEA, ED 13, Red Hook Retirees, Germantown TA and Germantown Support Association, Tri-Valley TA, Dutchess County BOCES Faculty Association, and Hyde Park United Employees Association and Marlboro FA and retirees.

“Sock it to COVID was a simple, organic idea that people felt good participating in,” Benton said.

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