Alec Mayer is a freshman at Auburn Mountainview High School with a goal of collecting at least 4,000 pairs of socks for Ray of Hope, a homeless shelter ran by the Auburn Food Bank.
Mayer, a member of Boys Scout of America troop 401 started a sock drive as part of a service project requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout member.
A Service Project During a Pandemic
An Eagle Scout is a rank saved for those with the highest achievement in the Boys Scouts of America program. “Just being in Boys Scouts is different from an Eagle Scout. So an Eagle Scout is the highest rank you can earn in Boys Scouts,” Mayer said. According to the Boys Scouts of America website, all future Eagle Scouts go through a lengthy review process upon completing certain requirements such as finishing a service project similar to Mayer’s.
Deciding what service project to work on was the first part of Mayer’s plan. With COVID-19, many projects like a blood drive would be less realistic. “So I thought about what might help people, and socks are the most needed item at homeless shelters. So, I thought I could do a sock drive and that would help out a lot of people,” Mayer said.
Mayer also considered collecting coats but realized they were too expensive to expect others to donate. “With socks, it’s a lot cheaper and a lot more people will think about donating towards this cause,” Mayer said.
“During COVID, it’s been hard to suggest ideas when someone says ‘How can I help?’ Alec‘s idea of socks was a great one,” said Auburn Food Bank Executive Director Debbie Christian. “It’s fairly easy to buy socks, it’s easy to understand that we all need socks, and it’s a huge blessing to anyone with wet socks.”
How to Donate to Alec’s Sock Drive
The sock drive takes place February 27, but Mayer has already started collecting socks. His mom Donna Mayer posted about the sock drive on Facebook. “I’m getting calls and messages just saying, can I swing by?” Donna Mayer said.
Mayer shared he’s already collected about 800 socks.
Three locations will be available for donation drop off on the day of the sock drive. The Auburn Fred Meyer, the Auburn Walmart, and Sunset Park in Lakeland Hills will have five volunteers each to help Mayer collect donations. Mayer will be traveling between the locations on the day of the drive to make sure everything’s running smooth, he said.
Socks and monetary donations can also be sent through the mail to Ray of Hope and Auburn Food Bank (P.O. Box 464, Auburn, WA 98071). “We are calling these “Alec’s Socks” as they come in! There will be lots of happy feet wearing “Alec’s Socks,” Christian said. Wool and cotton socks are best according to Christian.
Monetary donations for the sock drive are also being collected through Venmo. The Venmo account Mayer directs towards belongs to the Auburn Food Bank. A note can be written with each Venmo donation specifying it’s for Alec’s sock drive, he said.
Alec Making a Difference Makes a Difference in Alec
Mayer credits his family and friends for helping him with the sock drive by pushing and motivating him along.
Donna Mayer said she is proud of her son for gaining confidence throughout the service project. “Just a few weeks ago he was scared to death to make a phone call. He had to call Walmart and had to call Fred Meyer and talk to an actual real person, right? They all text and they all email, but to talk to someone? And then he was on the Zoom meetings with Auburn Rotary and Kiwanis Club, and speaking to them about this and he’s got better. And you know, it’s just really fun to see that change and so I think that’s making a big difference too,” she said.
Mayer hopes to fill the capacity space available at Ray of Hope. “I’m just hoping to get as many socks as I can. Debbie Christian said she has room for 4,000 socks so I’m trying to get to that goal or even beyond it if possible,” Mayer said.
“People have always been in need. With coronavirus, a lot of people are suffering more now and they just need help. And people aren’t able to afford things. They- some people just don’t have the money or they don’t have jobs to go out and buy what they need. And the food bank and now my sock drive are going to help a lot of people get what they need if they can’t afford it,” Mayer said.
To write this story, the Auburn Examiner interviewed Alec Mayer, Donna Mayer, Debbie Christian, and reviewed the Boys Scouts of America website.