Daily vacation bible school at Soldotna Church of God “knocked the socks off,” their kids this year as they collected over 600 pairs of socks for those in need. They then hand wrote heart shaped notes of encouragement for anyone who may be facing hard times or be in need for something cozy and warm for their feet. Last week Kathy Gensel, executive director of the Central Peninsula Health Foundation received 620 pairs of socks at her office gathered by the kiddos attending daily vacation bible school at the Soldotna Church of God. “We’ll be dispersing at the emergency department here at CPH to patients in need and our clinical forensics services department will be able to use them there and we actually have residents over at Heritage Place without family who may need some nice warm socks and at our Serenity House transitional living program will be able to use them there. To be able to have a stash of socks in the winter will be huge encouragement to a lot of folks,” said Gensel.
Maria Chythlook, is the children’s pastor at the Soldotna Church of God and explained how the idea got started, “I spoke with Mrs. Verba from the emergency room to see if there was a need the children could assist with and she said they had a need for socks. The pastor Allen thought it would be a great project so we put the word out to our church in the bulletin and from the pulpit and everyone started bringing in socks. We had people who didn’t even go to our church bring in socks because they heard we were collecting them, so soon it became a community effort,” said Chythlook. The drive started in June and by July 12th 620 pairs of socks of all sizes had been collected. “It was meaningful to the kids. This is the second year we have had a mission project during vacation bible school. Our motto is ‘Changing the world one life at a time,’ and we apply that in the children’s department. Teaching and showing the kids through experience that they can change lives no matter how young you are or how small you may be, they can make a difference too,” she said.
According to Gensel this was the first sock drive that she has seen happen, “We have people come in and donate things or ask what we can use and we’ll give them some ideas, but 620 pairs of socks? Wow! This is the first time that has happened,” she said. Chythlook said they may do it again next year, “Where there is a need that is what we are here for,” she said.