Letter sent to the Students, faculty and staff of columbia Teachers college for there generous donations of 100's of pairs of socks.
Dear Students, Faculty and Staff of Columbia Teachers College,
I wanted to give my personal thanks for your thoughtful, kind and generous donation of socks this past month.
I started collecting socks a few years ago after one of my beloved clients developed frost bite. It was a winter where the days were warm and wet and the nights were freezing. He didn't have a pair of socks to change into after they became wet during the day and the next day when I saw him his toes were blue. I asked him why he didn't go into shelter and he said that he didn't want to separate from his partner who felt unsafe in the women's shelter. I thought then if he only had an extra pair of socks to change into this could have been prevented. Such a small consideration would have such a big impact.
My name is Nikki Neretin and I am a family doctor who runs the homeless services for the Institute for Family Health. We have been providing medical services for the underserved at Broadway Presbyterian Church for the the past 20 years. Originally we saw patients in what used to be a storage closet at the church and then through a kind grant, and the services of Architects for Humanity, we finally had a proper medical office. Recently we were fortunate enough to do another renovation that also allowed us to renovate the bathroom and shower facilities. Finally it feels like an environment that promotes not only healing but dignity. My team which includes two social workers, a case manager, medical assistant and community health corp member have enough space to provide quality care.
Rock and Roll singer by night I started using my gigs as a platform to collect socks and although my friends and fan base are extremely generous I wasn't able to meet the large need for socks with an upcoming cold winter. That is when I was fortunate enough to run into Karen Baldwin, a former colleague from Beth Israel, who now works at Columbia Teachers College and immediately wanted to help out. When I suggested socks she was ready to start a collection and within a month Karen said that she had some socks to drop off. I was expecting a small box but instead received bags and bags of socks that seemed to be coming in weekly. I've never had such a large supply of socks enabling my team to be so generous to all our clients and I even keep some pairs with me so I can give them out on the train. It's rewarding to watch as my clients pick out a pair of socks that they like. One client picked out a pink polkadot pair of very fluffy socks and held them as if they were a beloved stuffed animal as she walked off with a smile on her face. I have been writing a blog about sweet sock stories over the past year to show how much of a difference one pair of socks can make. You can find them on my website dysorderlies.com.