<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Monday,  April 15 , 2024

Linkedin Pinterest

XChange Recovery gives 10,000 pairs of socks to people living without homes

Donation by Bombas is helping many in Clark County

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: September 2, 2023, 6:10am
3 Photos
XChange Recovery received 10,000 socks to give out to people experiencing homelessness. Socks are one of the most needed items for people living outside.
XChange Recovery received 10,000 socks to give out to people experiencing homelessness. Socks are one of the most needed items for people living outside. (Mia Ryder-Marks/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Jacqueline Alley trailed through an encampment in downtown Vancouver, peeking her head into various tents to chat with people and provide them lunch.

“Want some socks?” said Alley, the outreach worker from XChange Recovery.

Socks are one of the most-needed items among people living outside, according to the nonprofit Hope the Mission. Between walking to resources, work opportunities, agencies or food banks, a person experiencing homelessness logs a lot of miles on foot daily.

Thanks to a donation by apparel brand Bombas, XChange Recovery will hand out 10,000 pairs of socks to those experiencing homelessness in Clark County. The nonprofit is distributing the socks to the people it serves as well as other outreach teams and the Safe Stay and Safe Park communities.

How to Help

To donate to XChange Recovery:

“Something as simple as socks has a big impact,” said Vicki Smith, founder of XChange Recovery.

Beth Hammer, operations manager with XChange Recovery, submitted an application for the socks more than a year ago.

She had forgotten all about it until last week when she received a call that Bombas would be sending the Ridgefield-based nonprofit 10,000 pairs of socks. Now the halls of the nonprofit, located in Ridgefield, are filled with about 40 boxes.

XChange Recovery staff slipped some of the socks into the lunch bags that they hand out to people living unsheltered in our community.

The lunch sacks were made possibly through a grant they received from WorkSource. The grant is intended for hunger relief and food insecurity.

For people without homes, clean socks are a lifeline.

When Jason Paggett experienced homelessness, he said, his feet hurt all the time due to regularly walking from one end of town to the other.

“Having a clean pair of socks was a great thing on a regular basis,” said Paggett, who is now in recovery and a certified peer counselor at XChange Recovery. “I was so happy when I came into recovery to be able to get myself socks and be able to change them on a regular basis.”

“Our feet are what get us where we need to go,” said Alley. “It’s already very difficult to find a place to shower, to keep our feet clean, but at least a clean pair of socks prevents the amount of bacteria that our feet are exposed to.”

Socks are needed year-round for those living outside. In the winter months, they provide warmth; during hotter weather, they protect feet from the bacteria caused by sweat.

“If we can’t get up and get a food box, or can’t go to an appointment, it prevents us from taking care of the rest of our body,” said Alley. “Our feet are the best place to start for the physical health aspect.”

Community Funded Journalism logo

This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.