ELIZABETHTOWN — About 325 people will have warmer feet next time the cold season comes around, thanks to an anonymous corporate donation to the month-long sock drive being held at the Bladen Journal.
Anna Grace Allen, 14, the current Miss Bladenboro Outstanding Teen, arrived at the Journal office Friday with five cardboard boxes and a plastic bag containing about 650 pairs of socks to add to the collection of socks that have already come in from generous Bladen County residents.
“Someone called and said their business wanted to donate 500 pairs of socks and said they didn’t want to be identified, which we thought was pretty amazing,” said Sunday Allen, business manager for the Outstanding Teen Pageant and unrelated to Anna Grace. “It shows that they’re giving with the right heart and not for credit.”
She added, “This is our first big corporate donor.”
The Journal’s drive started April 1 after hearing from Anna Grace about her platform for the Outstanding Teen pageant.
“I saw these homeless men off Exit 49 (along Interstate 95) in their tents when we would drive by and wondered, ‘Where do they sleep? Do they have covers? How do they keep warm?’” Allen said. “And I wondered if I could do something.”
Allen, who volunteers at area homeless shelters and soup kitchens, was told that socks were the most needed items for the homeless.
“They really do appreciate it. I’ve been surprised,” she said of how recipients have reacted to the gifts. “I knew it was the biggest need, but I’m still surprised by how many people at the shelter say, ‘Thanks. I really needed this,’ and the look on their face is genuinely thankful — they’re not acting.”
The 650 pairs of socks have been added to the 274 pairs that have already come in and are beginning to fill the recliner-sized box at the Journal. Anna Grace reported that several churches in Bladen, Robeson, and Columbus Counties have also called asking how they can get on board.
“This young lady is serious about this,” said Sunday. “This effort will most likely grow legs and not just be in Robeson, Bladen and Columbus counties, but this is a platform that can go far beyond these counties.”
How you can help
Throughout the month of April, the Bladen Journal will be accepting donations of new socks at its office Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Socks of any style or height are needed for men, women, and children.
Anyone with any questions about the Sock It To ‘Em sock drive can call the Bladen Journal at 910-862-4163.
Additionally, Anna Grace is looking for monetary sponsorships for her journey to the Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen Pageant in June. Anyone interesting in contributing can call Teresa Allen at 910-977-1760.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.