By Johnny Jackson
A McDonough mother said she is determined to continue a charity effort she started with her 10-year-old daughter last year.
Yolanda Edwards and her daughter, LaVencia Gaines, are hoping to gain community support for their sock drive charity, known as the "Sock It To Me" campaign, for the upcoming holiday season.
Last year, the pair and a few of their neighbors collected new socks to distribute to children at three Children's Healthcare of Atlanta hospitals - Hughes Spalding, Scottish Rite and Egleston.
Edwards said they managed to collect and donate 450 pairs of socks for children at each hospital.
"This year, we have a goal to give 1,000 fun socks per hospital," Edwards said.
She was inspired, at first, to teach her daughter valuable life lessons about supporting the community. The inspiration continued last year, she said, with the idea of giving back to sick children and senior citizens.
This year, Edwards said she plans to incorporate three area assisted-living facilities - Goldencrest Assisted Living in Stockbridge, the Benton House of Stockbridge Assisted Living, and the Westbury Health and Rehabilitation Center in McDonough - in addition to continuing donations to the three children's hospitals.
"It's about kids learning valuable lessons to give back to our senior citizens," she said.
Her hope is to be able to have the area's youth deliver as many as 1,000 pairs of socks to each assisted-living facility during the holidays.
"It's rewarding, not only for the children to teach them valuable lessons, but also for the seniors to interact with the children," Edwards said. "They need the laughter and time with the children. What better way for them to further their community service by giving back to our seniors citizens?"
There are currently about 50 residents at the Benton House, who stand to benefit from the charity, according to Benton House Associate Director Mike McHale.
"We think it's good for the younger children to give back to the community," McHale said. "We think our seniors will enjoy the socks as well as interacting with the younger children."
Edwards said she is trying to grow the charity into an annual event, and recruit local youths to the "Sock It To Me" campaign. The campaign's volunteers would be required to share in the cause by donating five pairs of new socks, and volunteering at sock drives twice each month through December. She said she plans to conduct sock drives at area Walmart stores during the month of October.
"It's really simple," she said. "We're hoping that people see the good that we're trying to do and donate in order to get this nonprofit started."
Edwards said she plans to have the upcoming sock-collection drives at the Walmart in McDonough on Oct. 3, from 9 a.m., to 12 p.m., and at the Walmart in Lovejoy from 1 to 3 p.m. On Oct. 10, she said she plans to have drives at the Hudson Bridge Road Walmart in Stockbridge from 9 a.m., to 12 p.m., and at the Walmart along Ga. Highways 42 and 138 in Stockbridge, from 1 to 3 p.m.
To learn more about the "Sock It To Me" campaign, call Edwards at 1-877-523-6747, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.