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Idea to collect socks from friends turns into national effort to help those in need

Sue Lee and Phillis Shimamoto created the Sock It To 'Em campaign which has distributed 900,000 pairs of socks to people in need in 41 states.
Posted at 7:13 AM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 12:05:46-05

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — It was a simple idea dreamed up by a couple of friends.

“I said, ‘Phillis, let's get our girlfriends and we'll collect socks, and we'll take them down to some shelters,” Susan Lee said.

“We did not know that socks were the most requested item and the least donated,” Phillis Shimamoto added.

That first winter, Shimamoto and Lee’s Sock It To ‘Em campaign collected 575 pairs of socks for the homeless in Colorado.

In the past ten years, they’ve given away almost 900,000 pairs of socks in 41 states.

“To see the sparkle in their eyes, to see the hope that one pair gives somebody — it's incredible,” Phillis says.

Some friendly municipal competition has helped Sock It To ‘Em reach those numbers.

“It was a competition among the local mayors, and it since has evolved to a real community project,” Greenwood Village Mayor George Lantz said. “We can highlight the over 6,500 pairs of socks that we are contributing this year.”

One of the biggest contributors to the campaign has been the Town of Superior, whose citizens have donate thousands of pairs of socks every year.

“They've done a stocking run every year — except with COVID — where they collect socks for people who are homeless up in that area,” Lee said.

This year, many of the socks collected are being given back to the people of Superior to help families who lost homes in the Marshall Fire.

“For us to be able to give socks back to them after they've given out for all these years — it's an incredible feeling,” Shimamoto said.

An incredible feeling that was started by their idea to do something to help their community.

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