BUCKHANNON — Shoe Sensation has a nationwide movement annually for each community and their neighboring communities to donate new socks for their local veteran’s hospital for homeless veterans. Over 200 stores will be delivering them to their partnered organizations.
Homelessness is a big issue in today’s society and many of which are veterans. According to militarytimes.com, veterans experiencing homelessness increased in 2020 from around 30,000, even before the effects of COVID-19. “From 2010 to 2019, the number of veterans without stable housing decreased by more than 50 percent. However, the figure increased slightly in 2020, rising to 37,252 in HUD’s [United States Department of Housing and Urban Development] annual point-in-time estimate, up by a few hundred individuals,” the site reads.
Upshur County’s Shoe Sensation, led by Store Manager Genevia Jenkins, set a goal for 1,000 socks. When they reached their goal so early into the collection, they bumped their goal up to 2,000. After the conclusion of the drive on December 31, Buckhannon’s Shoe Sensation collected a total of 2,057 pairs of socks, well above their target goal. The socks were delivered to the hospital and to the veterans on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Socks were mostly donated from Upshur County residents and surrounding counties, though some participants even brought socks in from out of state. Socks could be purchased from Shoe Sensation or other businesses.
Jenkins delivered the collection herself to the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg Monday. Jenkins partnered with VA Hospital’s Volunteer Service Specialist Jeannine Romano, who distributed the socks to the veterans.
Jenkins stated she could not have done it without the help of her co-workers and employees. “The community support has been phenomenal and we just want to thank all the customers who came to our store to purchase the socks. One person couldn’t do this, but when you get a community together, it can be done! We’re very grateful and today will be a great day for us to deliver them,” Jenkins said.