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Never underestimate the power of warm, dry socks

“Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my Brethren, you have done unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Have you ever experienced cold feet and realized the impact of dry, warm, socks on how you feel? We take for granted that we will find that perfect pair of socks available in our sock drawer when the need arises (although if your sock drawer is like mine, it may take a while to find two that match).

What if you were homeless and forced to decide whether to eat today or buy winter socks? If you were like me, hunger would win that fight. Most of you reading this column today, like me, don’t have to face this decision. We can thank God for our blessings.

Andy Davis and Thad Watters, longtime scoutmasters at Boy Scout Troop 113, sponsored by Rome First Methodist Church, taught my two sons — and many other Boy Scouts — the importance of clean, dry, socks and sock liners. Back Packing along the Appalachian Trail we learned just how important socks could be to an enjoyable trip.

Why am I on the topic of socks today? Several weeks ago during a conversation with Harold Storey, he shared with me the brutal cold faced by World War II soldiers fighting in Germany. Most only had the socks on their feet and, as you can imagine, weren’t able to send out for more. He talked of the impact of socks on feet and the ability to quickly move to action if attacked by the enemy.

Harold’s empathy for soldiers in the war has moved now to the homeless and working poor in Rome. He is concerned that many are sleeping outside at night and walking around during the day with either no socks or dirty and wet socks. If you know Harold, you know he is concerned for not only men, but also women and children.

We discussed frostbite and how it can occur in 30 minutes or less, and well-fitting socks can prevent this. Moisture wicking sock and sock liners are needed for all seasons. Socks can provide protection from bacteria, blisters, and fungi. Clean and well-fitting socks can be just as important to an individual’s health as medication.

Harold challenged me to use this space to seek socks for the homeless this coming winter. Bill Davies, namesake of Davies Homeless Shelter, says the shelter is always in need of new wool socks and sock liners for the men staying there as they work to get back on their feet. I put emphasis on new because the shelter can’t accept used articles, no matter how good they may be.

As you and your family prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and would like to help me meet Harold’s challenge, please bring the socks to the front office of Rome News-Tribune at 305 E. Sixth Ave. Tell the ladies at the counter you have socks and they will put them in my office. I will personally deliver them to Davies Homeless Shelter. The shelter does not currently offer assistance to women and children, but if you want to include socks for women and children, bring them, and I will get those to a church or clothes closet for distribution to those in need.

If you would like, write a note of encouragement and place inside the socks. In addition to warm feet, you can also give a person a warm heart.

Thanks for reading and I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Otis Raybon is the publisher of the Rome News-Tribune.