Channel 8 News
Written by By: Sandra Reichman Thursday, 17 December 2009 09:30
By: Sandra Reichman
- Hartford lawmakers spent the morning collecting donations for a veterans home in Rocky Hill.
It was all part of the 7th annual "State Capitol Secret Santa Collection," which collects socks and other daily need items for hundreds of local veterans residing at the state facility.
"We are supporting the 500 plus veterans residing at the Rocky Hill facility and they continue to need basic personal items," said Plainville State Rep. Betty Boukus.
This year, donations are also being accepted for " soldiersocks.com ," a website which ships tube socks to active service people in Iraq and Afganistan.
Community responded, expanded when our warriors were in need
Written by Stamford Advocate - Chris Meek Thursday, 19 November 2009 14:35
By Chris Meek
What started as a very simple concept, to help our soldiers, has turned into one of the most remarkable things I have seen. Our community has embraced the efforts of SoldierSocks and as a result has had a direct impact on thousands of soldiers fighting abroad. The compassion and camaraderie our community has shown is something we should be proud of.
Earlier this summer a Marine friend of mine showed me a letter from a sergeant currently serving in Afghanistan. The letter had a simple request for his unit: basic toiletry items like tube socks and baby wipes. Things we take for granted. He states "The Marines are on the go "¦" and they have trouble with water to wash their socks and themselves. What a striking thought, the most fearsome warriors in history are lacking such basic and simple items.
Surely there has to be a way to get the men and women defending our individual freedoms the simple things they deserve. From that, SoldierSocks.com was created.
We reached out to local business owners asking for their assistance. Scott Wolak of the Hope Street Pharmacy, Ron and Tina Rosenfeld of the Athlete's Foot in Ridgeway and High Ridge shopping centers, and Martin Mezza's UPS Store in Norwalk all immediately offered to help when approached. These amazing neighbors have gone far above and beyond what anyone could have hoped or expected of them, especially considering the difficult financial times we are in. The Hope Street Pharmacy went so far as to create paper cutouts so store patrons could donate during their checkout.
Shipping these items to Afghanistan became the next hurdle. With the help of friends in the community, we were able to get a contact at Stewart Air Base in Newburgh, N.Y. Through the Air National Guard Unit and Marine Air Lift Unit 49, we are able to load the items onto a C-5 that then delivers the supplies to Afghanistan at no cost.
In September, we reached out to Stamford elementary schools asking if they would like to hold a drive for us. The response again was overwhelming. We collected 2,500 pounds of socks, wipes and sunscreen through the five weeks the schools held their various drives. The students wrote letters to our soldiers, drew pictures and decorated the collection boxes. They made this their project and made the Marine units a part of their family.
Aware of the school drives, parents approached us asking if they could hold drives at their places of business or places of worship. Congregation Agudath Sholom, Quinnipiac University, Western Connecticut State University, UConn, Fairfield University and Yale University will be holding drives over the next few months. The Stamford Police and Fire Departments have held drives and made donations. Peoples United Bank in Greenwich and Cos Cob, Long Ridge of Stamford and Holy Spirit Elementary School have all held drives. W&M Construction in Stamford, Advanced Physical Therapy of Connecticut and the seventh-grade "Rose Bowl" Champion Ridgefield Raiders football team have raised supplies for us. The Raiders even included their championship t-shirt, team photo and an autographed game ball that reads "To Our Real Heroes - Our MVP's."
The Capitol Building in Hartford will include a drive for SoldierSocks during their annual Holiday Veteran's Drive in December. Dental Care Kids of Stamford has asked parents to bring in their extra Halloween candy to add to our shipments. Over 300 pounds of candy was included in our last shipment on Nov. 14.
There is a Facebook group in an effort to make people more aware of what we are trying to accomplish. Donations have come in from across the country - Boston to Michigan to California to Texas. We have recently been approached by a youth group in Spartanburg, S.C. to hold a drive for us. After a conversation with the woman we learned she is a regional officer for her church and responsible for 26 parishes throughout South Carolina. The churches' 2010 Community Outreach program will be a drive for SoldierSocks.com.
Our "community" continues to grow. Our compassion as neighbors, as a country, continues to empower us and will enable us to work through the many issues we face today. Look at what we can do when we all work together toward a common goal. I would like to thank each and every student, teacher, parent and professional who have taken the time to share something with our troops. The impressive accomplishment isn't merely the number of shipments or the size of those shipments; rather it is the ingenuity and resourcefulness of those helping. As each person finds a way to make this their own cause, we become stronger and more people are helped. Without the work of our schools and parents we wouldn't have the drives, without a concerned woman from South Carolina we wouldn't be in 26 churches and without thoughtful small business owners we wouldn't have accessed the point of sale.
I can't be more proud to be a part of something so dynamic that causes such an impact and involves so many people of such diverse ages, races, religions and locations. Truly this is the best of all of us coming out. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of something so special.
I personally would like to thank my wonderful wife Christine and very good friends Mike Duggan, Frank and Maria Lovello for their tireless efforts in helping to deliver the necessary boxes and signage at the various drive sights and picking up the tons of supplies you have all generously donated.
Thank you to everyone for your compassion and commitment to our troops.
God Bless the U.S. Armed Forces.
Stamford resident launches non-profit organization to aide troops serving abroad
Written by StamfordPlus.com Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:35
STAMFORD, CT — Stamford resident Chris Meek launches SoldierSocks.com, a 501(c)(3) organization, to help troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq have access to basic hygienic items.
Since SoldierSocks’ inception, the group has shipped a ton of baby wipes and tube socks to soldiers, greatly increasing the number of units that receive similar contributions. Additionally, SoldierSocks has teamed up with three community businesses – Stamford’s Hope Street Pharmacy, Athlete’s Foot also in Stamford, and the UPS store in Norwalk. The Stamford Fire Department has donated to SoldierSocks and will be placing bins in locations where they accept donations for their annual Toys for Tots drive during the holiday season.
“The men and women put their lives on the lines for their fellow Americans yet they need basic necessities such as baby wipes to clean themselves, and tube socks because of the rough and difficult terrain and weather they are exposed to,” said Meek. “Giving to SoldierSocks.com in any denomination is a simple thing to do and the help it delivers to our soldiers is priceless. Through this organization, each and every one of us can make a real difference to the life of a soldier."
SoldierSocks.com has garnered tremendous attention and support from several elected officials throughout Fairfield County.
“SoldierSocks.com is our community at its best. Our great men and women who wear the military uniform are working with unparalleled professionalism, patriotism, and selfless sacrifice for our nation,” said State Representative Gerald Fox (D-146). “Anything that can be done to improve the quality of life for our brave soldiers is truly a noble endeavor. I wish SoldierSocks.com continued growth and success.”
“I believe that the SoldierSocks.com program is a great way to support our troops over in Iraq and Afghanistan. New socks are are a precious commodity in the battlefield. I urge others to participate in this worthwhile endeavor,” added State Representative Livvy Floren (R-149).
Currently, Meek is working with the Marine Air Lift Unit 49 and Air National Guard unit out of Stewart Air Base in nearby Newburgh, NY to arrange shipping the items at no cost which will mean even more baby wipes and socks headed to units.
A dozen Stamford Elementary schools are currently holding drives while several Connecticut colleges and universities will conduct drives on campus in the future – Fairfield University; Yale University; University of Connecticut; Wesleyan College; Western Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University. Additionally, New Britain High School’s Junior ROTC program will hold a drive next month.
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