The City Roasted Runners, a local running group, has banded together this year to fill 32 pairs of socks stuffed with goodies to give to the youth living on the streets in Red Deer through a new program called Socks 4 Streetkids.
“Not only do we get together and run and socialize, but we also come together for people when there is sadness and challenges,” said Lois Tallas, a runner who is helping organize this sock program. “Also, we like to give back to the community and this was a great way to give back.”
Socks 4 Streetkids is a way to help out Red Deer’s homeless youth that Gail Hill, a member of the City Roasted Runners, hopes will be an annual campaign.
Red Deer has an estimated 30 homeless youth between the ages of 14-17 currently living on the streets for various reasons. The goal of Socks 4 Streetkids is to provide each youth a pair of nice warm winter socks filled with goodies and when the socks are emptied, they will enjoy a pair of warm winter socks and things that might be needed for kids on the streets.
This year the goal was attained with over 30 youth receiving a Christmas stocking.
Items that were included in the stockings included travel size shampoos, conditioners and lotions, nail clippers, band-aids, hair combs and brushes, oral care accessories, deodorant, mittens, hats, snack items, McDonalds gift cards and bus passes.
Hill is credited with bringing this program to Red Deer after participating in it in her previous hometown. “I worked for the City of Surrey for 20 years and with the women’s committee we did Socks 4 Streetkids. We did a few different programs but Socks 4 Streetkids was one of our big things at Christmas.”
After seeing the success of the program in B.C. Hill wanted to start it in Red Deer.
She relocated to Alberta three years ago but it was this year that everything came together and worked out for the plan to come to fruition. This year all of the socks were bought, stuffed and donated within two weeks.
According to Hill the success of the program this year is due to the willingness of people to participate. “It is pretty amazing how many people want to do something and it’s an easy thing to do and it is fun to fill a stocking for somebody.
After this year’s success Hill hopes to continue to spread holiday cheer to Red Deer’s streetkids for years to come.