West Shore community members are teaming up to warm hearts and feet this holiday season with a winter sock drive for people in need.
Ruban Rebalkin, owner of Tumblebums Play Centre & Toy Shoppe, as well as Westshore Gold and Silver owner Cory Kowalchuk and friend Jessica Anselmo have come together for another year of giving with what has become an annual winter sock drive.
Three years ago, Rebalkin began collecting socks and other items like water to hand out to people who were homeless and asked Kowalchuk to deliver them with him. They walked around downtown Victoria near Centennial Square to give them away. The year after, the pair went to The Salvation Army and Our Place Society to hand out socks to people in need.
Rebalkin said he got the idea of collecting socks after reading that they are a much-needed item for many.
“Most people don’t have access to laundry so socks can become a hygiene issue,” Rebalkin said.
The act of giving socks out to people in need allowed the pair to really connect with the individuals and share stories, something Kowalchuk said was a humbling experience.
“It seemed like the least we could do,” Kowalchuk said.
This year, the trio hopes to collect 1,000 pairs of socks to give away. They will be accepting donations of new pairs of socks at Tumblebums Play Centre & Toy Shoppe until Dec. 20 with the goal of giving them away over the cold holiday season. Donations will go to Our Place Society and The Salvation Army.
“Something so basic for us means the world for them,” Anselmo said. “It’s important to show our kids and others how to be generous and not just talk about it.”
Donations of new socks are being accepted until Dec. 20 and can be dropped off at 133-735 Goldstream Ave. Tumblebums Play Centre & Toy Shoppe is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, call 250-474-7529.