For people who plan to line up the streets of Bordentown City for this year’s Oct. 27 annual Halloween Parade, the Kiwanis Club of Bordentown is asking attendees to bring one special item with them–socks.
For the past seven years, the Bordentown Kiwanis Club has teamed up with the Bordentown Halloween Parade Committee as well as other local groups to organize a sock drive at one of the area’s most celebrated events. The local club is aimed to coordinate and promote local volunteer efforts to reach out to people in need.
For the city’s Halloween parade, Kiwanis Club member George Veitengruber said that he felt the event could be used as another facet to encourage support for one of the club’s partners, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), whose objective it is to feed and support people in need around the Trenton area.
Veitengruber explained that after it was brought to his attention that one of the most demanded commodities among people in need is socks, the Bordentown group wanted to step up and encourage donations any way they could.
“One of our members came to us with data facts that said socks are the number one collection piece needed for homeless going into the winter,” Veitengruber said. “When you think about that, you would think that of all the things someone would need, socks would not be number one on my list by a long shot.”
With more consideration though, the Bordentown Kiwanis Club realized that an item accessible as a pair of socks could prove to serve an important purpose and worthy of gathering through donations.
“When you think about the versatility of socks, it’s keeping your extremities warm, they work as makeshift mittens and it’s an absolute survival comfort factor,” he said. “Because it’s so overlooked, it’s the thing that nobody is paying attention to.”
But with the idea in mind, Veitengruber said he felt that Bordentown was perhaps the perfect area to execute the idea, especially for the upcoming Halloween Parade.
“It was small, goofy and weird enough that we thought, ‘Let’s do a sock drive during the parade,’” he said. “You have all these kids sitting out on the corner, waiting for candy with a world of people throwing it to them – everyone is going crazy, and we became the first group that said, ‘While we are throwing you candy, you can throw us socks.’
“Nobody had ever brought things like this to a parade other than goodie bags and candy,” he added.
Veitengruber said that the initial sock drive was met with some success, noting that the first year they implemented the program, approximately 500 pairs of socks were collected. Ever since the charitable cause became an annual tradition, Veitengruber said that the effort has gained momentum.
He also said that two years ago after the Bordentown group decided to do-away with fliers to promote the event, the group still received 1,200 pairs of socks. Last year, Veitengruber reported that the group broke the 2,000-mark of pairs.
For Veitengruber, as small as a donated pair of socks might seem to the ordinary person, he said that for TASK, which serves as a hub to help the needy in many local communities, 2,000 pairs of socks can last approximately a month before they are gone.
For this year’s Halloween Parade though, the Bordentown Kiwanis Club aims to garner even more donations in hopes to break the 2,000-mark again.
“When we think about giving gestures, service doesn’t necessarily have to be a big gesture,” Veitengruber said. “It can be something small and insignificant as giving socks. Who really thinks of socks as something as essential and important? All of the sudden, when you are sprinting to pick up candy, but also picked up a six-pack of tube socks and brought them to the parade, you just helped six people.
“It’s awesome when you can do something relatively small and make an impact on people you don’t even know. That’s why we keep doing this every year,” Veitengruber added.
Drop off spots for this year’s sock drive can be found at the Oct. 5 and 6 Bordentown Cranberry Festival, the Christ Church Parish of Bordentown and Trinity’s Church Table. People can also reach out to Veitengruber via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and donations.