A sock ministry that has grown out of a gift from Bombas
By Doris McLeod, Whitney's Pantry
This does not seem to be the year to experience abundance. Most things seem diminished, lacking, scarce. But I did have an unusual experience of abundance that I want to share with you – I unpacked 1000 pairs of socks! And not for the first time, and not for the last – which is even more amazing. SsJA has been approved for the third year to be a giving-partner for Bombas socks. And they don’t do “small donation” – it means 1000 pair, or more.
Bombas is a trendy sock company that advertises a lot on the internet and sells a lot of socks. But they have an unusual business plan – giving away a pair of socks for each pair sold. The socks that they give are not left-overs, unpopular colors, etc., but socks specifically designed for folks living on the margins of our society. The company consulted with shelters in the design – quick-drying synthetic, all black, comfortable, stretchy, and very sturdy. They must be given, not sold or raffled or whatever.
Whitney’s Pantry offers them every month and Steve Houghton fills his backpack when he goes out on the street, but 1000 pair is a lot of socks. So this year we have reached out to other agencies to offer bags of socks for them to distribute to folks we will never see. We are the only giving-partner in Franklin County, so I contacted the food pantries in West County – Shelburne Falls, Charlemont, and Ashfield. Then Montague Catholic Social Ministries and the Survival Center in Turners Falls.
Then our downstairs neighbors at Tapestry and the Wells St. Shelter and the Living Room. All were surprised (“new socks?”), and very grateful. And when this year’s shipment comes, we’ll do it all over again! Hallelujah!
You may regard your socks as a very minor concern, but that assumes that you have plenty of socks as well as shoes and boots that don’t leak and keep your feet warm.
We have been encouraged by public health officials and Bishop Fisher to encourage those who are eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine to sign up to do so. It is one simple thing we can do to show love of our neighbors, and make our communities safer. Boards of Health across Massachusetts and an ethicist in the New York Times share a similar sentiment: "if you have the opportunity to get the vaccine, GET IT, and tell others that you have."
Parishioners who are healthcare workers and firefighters have received vaccinations. Vaccination was opened up to clergy, and we are each scheduled to receive our first doses in February.
We realize navigating the online sign up is a bit overwhelming. Below is a bit of information about how to go about signing up to receive a vaccine. We also will also be available to answer questions on the process on Sunday, February 7 at Virtual Coffee Hour. Please do not hesitate to call us or email us if you need help or access to wireless to sign up.
Parishioners who are 75+ are now eligible to receive a vaccination. If you are not eligible yet, the online scheduler will stop you from scheduling your appointment. If you are unsure if you are eligible (such as whether you have two co-morbidities), we encourage you to call your healthcare provider. See the eligibility chart here.
There are several places in the Pioneer Valley where you can sign up to receive your vaccine.
See the map here. If you select one of the brightly colored stars near where you live, there is a link you can choose to take you through the signup process.
If you find it overwhelming, please do not hesitate to call or email us for help. We will walk you through it.
We understand this is a personal choice for everyone. We want to respect individual choice, yet also be a resource of support to assist those of you who need some tech help with the signup process.
Rev. Heather & Rev. Molly