But not just any type of sock. Students are collecting warm, durable, soldier-worthy socks for Socks for Soldiers. At the end of the month, the socks will be sent to Afghanistan, where Lone Tree Elementary administrative assistant Penny Plummer’s son, Lance Cpl. Chad Lewis Plummer, 21, was deployed last month on his first tour.
“He said it’s freezing at night,” Penny said. “He sleeps in three sleeping bags when he goes out on the missions and his feet are still freezing. That’s how cold it is out there!
“We did a sock drive two years ago and collected 2,000 pairs of socks. Our music teacher, Delores Erickson, had one of her sons deployed at that time. When the sock arrived on his ship, an announcement was made about the socks’ arrival. They were gone in less than 20 minutes! Our goal is to raise another 2,000 pairs this time.”
Erickson said her son Alex, who was working as a medic on the destroyer Arleigh Burke at the time, and his shipmates were grateful for the donations, and the troops that will benefit from this drive will also be thankful for the community’s generosity.
Josie Monaghan, founder of East County Military Families and Friends, has partnered with the Lone Tree Elementary effort. According to Monaghan, some people are under the assumption that the government supplies the troops with basic necessities such as socks and other clothing and hygiene products, but those supplies are limited and soldiers must pay for replacements themselves.
“We take it for granted, but for a soldier, a fresh pair of socks is like gold,” Monaghan said. “Little things go a long way. Can you imagine being on a two-week mission and not getting the chance to take off your shoes or socks because you have to be on the move and constantly be on guard? Soldiers’ feet get more of a workout than any other part of their body. And in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, a pair of socks isn’t going to last very long with all the wear and tear.”
Durable socks help protect troops from trench foot and athlete’s foot. “Their feet need to be healthy,” said Monaghan. “If their feet are taken care of and they are comfortable, they can better focus on their mission and their ultimate goal of coming home alive.”
Along with East County Military Families and Friends, a local Girl Scout troop and the Antioch Union School District have come on board to support Socks for Soldiers. Only new socks will be accepted. Plummer said thick, warm socks, such as those you’d wear when skiing, will help the troops stay toasty, but all donations are greatly appreciated.
For those who want to go the extra mile to support the cause, websites such as www.thorlo.com/military-socks.php and www.covertthreads.com offer specially-designed socks with soldiers in mind. Such socks are thick but keep feet dry and protected from the elements, but Monaghan said socks made of 80 percent cotton are just as effective when it comes to protecting soldiers’ feet.
Monetary support is also appreciated, as it costs $13 to send out one care package.
Socks may be dropped off at Lone Tree Elementary, 1931 Mokelumne Drive, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, e-mail Plummer at firstname.lastname@example.org.