Underwear, socks needed by homeless

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What’s life without clean socks and underwear?

Share, Vancouver’s primary provider of services to the hungry and homeless, has launched its fourth annual “Operation Sole Mates” sock drive — and it’s added new underwear to the wish list. All donated items will be distributed to clients of Share’s Outreach program, serving people living on the streets as well as clients in shelter.

“Socks and underwear are two of the least donated, yet most needed items,” said Diane McWithey, executive director of Share.

It’s difficult for the homeless to stay warm and dry during winter months. Common infections such as athlete’s foot thrive when damp socks are worn for days or weeks at a time; frostbite is common, too.

“So often we see street homeless asking for spare change or food, but we feel this is a much more productive way to raise awareness, help address their needs and, hopefully, move them into shelter,” said Katherine Garrett, director of Share House and Share Outreach.

Donations of new underwear and athletic socks for men and women can be dropped off throughout the month of October at the Share Volunteer Center, 1708 Main St., or at one of the following shelter locations: Share House, 1115 W. 13th St.; Share Homestead, 4921 N.E. Hazel Dell Ave.; Share Orchards Inn, 5609 N.E. 102nd Ave.