Sockcess Story

by Anne Bradshaw

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    Sixty British young people and a zillion unsorted socks—what an opportunity for matchmaking!

    Stake Young Women president Paulette Griffiths first had the idea while talking to Church member Tony Iliffe, whose company turns tubes of knitting into finished socks.

    “We always end up with sacks full of odd ones that don’t have matches,” commented Tony. “The partners are there somewhere, but no one knows where. A gentleman from London used to take them for the homeless, but he died.”

    So began Sister Griffith’s brain wave.

    She thought it would be a wonderful service project for the youth of the Lichfield England Stake—her stake—to sort socks, try to find matches, and then donate the pairs to charity.

    So the youth got together, and like some gigantic jigsaw puzzle, the matchmaking began. The prevailing comment from the 60 young people who had gathered was, “I’ve never seen so many socks in my life!”

    During the day, the excitement became infectious, with “I’ve got one!” shouts echoing through the hall. “It’s like finding treasure,” said Kristie McCall. “It’s a laugh.” Ellen Tong added, “Helping someone else and having a good time doing it is great.”

    “It’s something different to do on a Saturday,” said Sharon Whiting from Sutton Coldfield, who spent her day sifting through hundreds of socks. Even Chelsea Birtcher, a visitor from Utah, said, “It’s the best service project I’ve been to.”

    Everyone rotated to other sock activities when they were in danger of becoming tired of sorting. The sock activities ranged from puppet making, building a puppet theater, and decorating socks to be worn later at the evening Sock Hop—a slippery barn dance. Prizes were announced for the best decorated socks. And a puppet show was planned, to be performed for children’s hospitals, with the puppets donated to the ward nurseries.

    With the youth from six wards pulling together, they finished with eight large sacks of paired socks for their day’s work.

    Sam Barber, a 15-year-old from Stafford, said, “We had more people turn up to this service project than ever before. That’s what made it enjoyable.”

    One of the project’s success stories belonged to the youth from the Lichfield and Tamworth wards. They achieved their goal and filled sacks of baby socks for two social service groups that work with children.

    At the end of the day, a final count seemed a bit like the loaves and fishes. Despite eight bags of socks with partners, the remaining pile of singles still looked as high as ever. And only a few groaned when Sister Griffiths announced, “We’ll be back to enjoy this activity again soon.”

    Photography by Anne Bradshaw