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Auburn Boy Scout Collects Over 6,000 Socks for Auburn Food Bank

Alec Mayer hoped to collect 4,000 socks as part of his Eagle Scout project for the Ray of Hope Day Resource Center. He surpassed his goal, collecting over 6,000 pairs. 

Mayer’s parents helped him deliver the socks to Auburn Food Bank’s Executive Director Debbie Christian on Monday. The Ray of Hope Resource Center and Sundown Overnight Shelter are both run by the Auburn Food Bank.

Boy Scout Alec Mayer stands in front of  a wheeled laundry tote overflowing with black garbage sacks full of socks.
Auburn Boy Scout Alec Mayer shows off just some of the socks he collected in his Eagle Scout service project donation drive. | photo by Solen Araf for the Auburn Examiner

Many Eagle Scout service projects, such as construction projects or hosting a blood drive, involve heavy human contact. Mayer, a freshman at Auburn Mountainview, had to get creative when COVID-19 didn’t allow for these types of projects. Instead, he was inspired to do something different when he learned about the need for socks at the Auburn Food Bank.

“At the beginning, I thought 1,000 would be a lot and then Debbie said that she had room for about 4,000. I thought that was a very large amount. I never thought we could get near 6,000. I think that’s just amazing,” Mayer said.

Mayer hosted a sock drive on Feb. 27 at the Auburn Fred Meyer, the Auburn Walmart, and Sunset Park in Lakeland Hills. He had volunteers collecting at each location, and ran back and forth between the three locations to ensure things ran smoothly. 

“We were blown away by bags and bags of socks coming out of the stores as he was standing there like, just- just thrilled that we can help so many people and thrilled that he persevered for the last three months and kept pushing and pushing and getting the word out,” Donna Mayer, Alec’s mom said. 

Mayer started planning his project in December. With the help of advertising, he collected hundreds of socks before his project officially began.

Making a Lasting Impact

The Ray of Hope Day Resource Center utilizes the socks to hand out to those in need using the day center. “It seems that of all the little things that we could do that might build a little moral in them, or a little self-respect, is a clean pair of socks, so it can mean the world,” Chris Schmieder, Program Director at Sundown Overnight Shelter said. 

Christian expects the socks from Alec’s drive to last three or four years. 

“Even just to have a bag of socks is a lot of socks for us, and they’ll go, we’ll sparingly kinda hand them out. Now we don’t have to worry about it, you know. People need dry socks all the time and so this will be an easy way to consistently hand out socks and make sure everybody [has] dry socks,” Christian said. 

In addition to collecting socks, people also sent monetary donations for Alec’s sock drive. According to Christian, every $.68 equals one pair of socks. That formula was used to help determine the total tally of collected socks.

Alec Mayer and his mother, Donna Mayer unload large garabge bags full of donated socks into a wheeled laundry tote from the back of a minivan.
Alec Mayer (L) and his mother, Donna (R) unload bags of socks to be donated | photo by Solen Araf for the Auburn Examiner

“Sure we had friends and family that sent in checks because we asked and shared it with them. But the fact that complete strangers who don’t know Alec just wanted to help Ray of Hope and that was what, what was so amazing,” Donna Mayer said. 

Christian said it was exciting to see how far Alec’s outreach went. “Alec’s done an amazing job and of course, his outreach has been amazing. We’ve had checks come in from New York, California, Arizona, all over,” Christian said. 

Schmieder said that while socks may seem like a small thing, it makes a big difference when someone doesn’t have a whole lot. “A lot of them have foot problems, so you know it, it, it lets them put one foot in front of the other you know, because they’ve got socks on,” Schmieder said.

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