Getting cold feet is no joke for thousands of Albertan who find either themselves homeless or at risk of living on the streets, but one local clinic is hoping to make this coming winter a little bit more tolerable.
For the entire month of September, Sherwood Park’s Baseline Chiropractic and Wellness Centre will be collecting mountains of socks and $15,000 in donations as part of its 5th annual Toasty Toes campaign. Looking to set the bar high, the clinic is hoping to beat the 25,000 pairs of socks collected in 2018 by the overall Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors (ACAC). That governing body launched the campaign five years ago in partnership with the United Way.
“Although they’re socks, they’re the most underfunded item that organizations like the United Way need every year. Since we’re all about health and wellness, it helps the wellness of Albertans who are in need of socks during the cold winter months,” said Kelly Fleck, Baseline Chiropractic and Wellness Centre’s chiropractor and Toasty Toes event organizer. “Beating the ACAC’s 25,000 pairs from last year, I believe we can totally do it.”
To kick off the initiative, the clinic will host a Socktober Fest on Sept. 7 from 6- 11 p.m. at #550 220 Lakeland Drive (the former Pan Tree location). While the event will be packed with many business owners, the event is open to all members of the public. The evening will include local musical talent, a silent auction, and appetizers. Admission is a sock or cash donation.
“This is an event that our team has embraced. When they’re very passionate about it, they give 110 per cent and our patients see that energy, and then they want to get involved. Once that happens, the rest of the community wants to get involved and you keep growing that way,” said Fleck.
The event’s success has only surged over the past few years, with 1,500 pairs of socks donated in its first year to 15,000 pairs in 2018. The growth in interest came from organizing a kick-off family-friendly fair with a dunk tank, which saw clients lined up around the corner because it “allowed them to get revenge on their chiropractors” joked Fleck.
Later this month on Sept. 19 just after noon, clinic staff will head to the Walmart on Wye Road to carry out a sock shopping spree and load up a huge container destined for the United Way.
Suzi Medhurst, United Way program coordinator of community initiatives, was blown away from Baseline Chiropractic and Wellness Centre’s goal. She knows the socks won’t go astray.
“That’s just amazing. There are some many people who will benefit from it and there are so many of our partner agencies are always looking for socks,” she said, adding that impressive number will allow the United Way to partner with even more agencies.
From past Toasty Toes campaigns, donations are distributed to people who are either homeless, low-income, or at risk of becoming homeless. Groups that received the socks included Operation Friendship Seniors Society, the Bissel Centre, and Boyle Street in the Capital Region. In addition, socks are handed out during the Homeless Connect event that takes place twice a year for the Capital Region, which involved 2,000 participants each time. Initiatives such as Toasty Toes has allowed the organization to hand out twice the amount to attendees.