All Tammie Bale’s son Robert wanted for Christmas was socks.
After he died in 2016 from a drug overdose, the Albion mother wanted to keep his memory alive by collecting and donating socks to those less fortunate.
“This time of year can be very hard when you don’t have your loved ones,” Bale said. “This brightens my holiday a little bit to put smiles on people’s faces.”
Since it started in November, her “Just Socks, Ma” initiative has collected and donated more than 1,583 pairs of warm socks to the Open Door Mission shelter, with a little help from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
“She wanted to get a thousand pair of socks and I thought that’s a lot of socks – somebody’s got to help this lady,” said Corporal Kathy Prince. “Part of it is the opioid epidemic, it’s horrible and it’s touched a ton of families and if it hasn’t touched you yet, you’re pretty lucky. ”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office collected over 900 pairs, which the shelter is happy to distribute through the chilly months.
“Something like a simple pair of socks that can make their day a little bit lighter and their tomorrow a little bit better really just means so much,” said Brenda Spratt, the mission’s director of development.
Socks will be distributed among the Open Door Mission’s three residences spread throughout Rochester.
“I want people to have warm feet like I have,” Bale said.