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Giving socks an easy way of helping others

Jean Studebaker left Terri Allen sort socks donated Socks for Soul collectipoint  Christ Community Church Zion. | TinJohansson/for Sun-Times

Jean Studebaker, left, and Terri Allen sort socks donated at a Socks for the Soul collection point at Christ Community Church in Zion. | Tina Johansson/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 23, 2014 4:42AM

If your heart would like to help others this holiday season, but your pocketbook says it’s a stretch, think again.

A Winthrop Harbor woman has been heading a way to give for the past several years that won’t break the bank.

“Nearly everyone can give a pair of socks,” said Jean Studebaker, pointing out the obvious dollar store buys.

The motto of her Socks for the Soul collection is “Warm Feet, Warm Hearts.” Not only can a nice thick pair of socks warm the tootsies, they can also keep the hands toasty.

“If someone doesn’t have a pair of gloves or mittens, socks can cover the hands,” said Studebaker of homeless individuals out in the elements for sometimes hours on end.

A retired Cardinal Health supervisor, Studebaker began her plight with the help of Antioch friend Judy Close five years ago. Now she does it alone, while Close continues to have a sock drive in Antioch.

So far, she figures she’s collected more than 6,500 pairs of socks for people who stay at a PADS homeless shelter in Zion. Most of the recipients are men, but there are also women and children who benefit. PADS gets a large sock donation before Christmas, and the food pantry at North Point Church in in Winthrop Harbor.

Among the generous helpers is Alice Scott of Zion. Scott, a Zumba instructor and substitute teacher for the Zion school district forwent her usual $7 for an hour of bouncy exercise at a slated Central Middle School event in lieu of a pair of new socks per person.

“I got other instructors to come on board and help out, too,” said Scott who notified participants — mostly women, via Facebook. “I love doing whatever I can to give back to the community.”

To give socks to help others, visit any of the Zion collection sites that Studebaker has set up including at the Zion-Benton Public Library, Christ Community Church, It’s all Good coffee shop, and New Tech Campus.

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