MARTINS FERRY - The Times Leader kicked off the inaugural edition of its holiday donation campaign, Socks for Seniors, during the first week of November.
Socks for Seniors is a national campaign designed to bring some holiday cheer and merriment to the local senior community that each local drive is held in.
Without a lot of lead-up time, the drive was still met with spirited support from our readers.
Joni Fox from Shadyside Care Center, left, and Amanda Crawford from Autumn Manor stopped by The Times Leader office Friday to pick up a donation of socks from the paper’s Socks for Seniors campaign.
All told, 532 pairs of festive, colorful holiday socks were dropped off at The Times Leader office.
In conjunction, Bridgeport Junior High School students conducted a drive of their own and collected 316 pairs, brining the grand total to 848.
"We wanted to join a worthy cause and come up with a way to help out our community this Christmas season and Socks for Seniors is an excellent program that tries to provide some cheer to the senior community," said Lori Figurski, publisher of The Times Leader.
"We want to thank the people of the Ohio Valley for getting behind this campaign and generously donating socks for our area seniors.
"We appreciate your support."
Suzie Deihl, the gifted and talented teacher from Bridgeport who oversaw the junior high's donation drive, was equally as impressed with the response the campaign received.
"Our goal was 200 pairs of socks," Talented and Gifted teacher Suzie Deihl offered. "We easily surpassed that mark. The students were so excited when they found out how many socks we had collected. They couldn't believe it."
The Bridgeport students' socks that were collected were distributed earlier this week at Heartland Lansing.
Friday, Joni Fox from the Shadyside Care Center and Amanda Crawford from Autumn Manor stopped by the office to pick up bagfuls of donated socks to take back to pass out to their residents.
Later Friday, a representative from the Harrison County Home received a donation bag and socks were also donated to the First Baptist Church in Martins Ferry.
It's the friendliest and most giving time of year.
But, for some it can also be a depressing time of year. Our seniors can get lost in the shuffle.
Each year, thousands of lonely and financially challenged seniors struggle with the holiday blues. They dread facing the holiday season alone - some being without family or friends, some with the isolation of being a widow or widower.
Some seniors just being away from children and grandchildren produces extreme loneliness that's exaggerated by festivities of the season.
Socks For Seniors and it's volunteers have one priority this holiday season and that is to bring holiday cheer along with a pair of new socks to warm the hearts and cover the cold feet of our elderly seniors. The Socks for Seniors program benefits those living alone and in nursing homes and yes even those seniors that are homeless.
For more information or updates on the drive, check out Socks for Seniors on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.
Hughes may be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org