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Flood Stories from Karen Speerstra

4,000 Socks (and some red underwear)

I wrote a message on the white board at the local disaster relief center the other day: “We’re into abundance, not scarcity.” I’m not sure who will read that or what they’ll think it means–I’m not sure I know myself, although I suspect it’s connected to warm socks and new underwear.

Anyone handling donated clothing right now in the Vermont flood areas knows the feeling.  “Here comes another bag full. Where are we going to put it? Who’s going to sort it?”

Everyone means well, but the disaster relief center I’m most familiar with has now limited their intake to “New underwear, new socks, towels, bedding.”  I’m sure jackets and warm winter wear will be also accepted…but no more big bags of those discarded jeans and tops and kids’ clothes everyone seems to suddenly want to part with.

One woman who lost their house had time to grab a few things from their closets. But the other day, she actually come in with a bag or two, saying, “I really don’t need this much anymore.”  Having to leave everything behind makes you suddenly realize how much in our lives really is superfluous. We don’t need many socks, but we need some socks.

The other day, I spoke to my friend Mickie who used to work for the Cabot Hosiery Mills in Northfield, Vermont about the need for new socks and guess what? She made one call and her former company generously donated 4,000 pairs of socks to the Vermont Food Bank. Soon Mickie’s socks will be dancing all over the state. Now that’s something      to celebrate!

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