(Note: Socks for Seniors 2021 has been cancelled in Franklin County.)
Founded by Care Connection of Idaho in 2013 and adopted by SEICAA in 2017, the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive is a holiday program that aspires to stave off the effects of isolation and loneliness by spreading happiness to local senior citizens. Participants receive friendly visits and a stocking, or “sock,” filled to the brim with donated goods from businesses and individuals in our community.
Over 3,000 senior citizens have benefitted from the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive since its inception. And, with the generosity and support of its donors, sponsors, and volunteers, the Stocking Drive grows each year. The 2020 Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive soared to incredible heights just last year, gifting a record-breaking 635 stockings to senior citizens in Pocatello and Chubbuck. The Stocking Drive’s popularity further inspired the launch of the first-ever Socks for Seniors Power County Stocking Drive, a sister-drive separated by all but its name, that delivered over 340 stockings to senior citizens in American Falls. The result of the continued dedication from local businesses and individuals to the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive is not just happier and healthier senior citizens, but also a stronger, more unified community.
The Socks for Seniors 2021 Stocking Drive
A lot has happened between the end of last year’s Stocking Drive and now. Issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic have ravaged our community in ways we wouldn’t have imagined, seemingly causing divisions that widen every day between the privileged and the vulnerable. Of all the vulnerable populations, perhaps the most overlooked is that of our senior citizens. “No longer in the workforce…more likely to live alone,” says Kathleen Zuke, MPH, National Council on Aging, “[seniors] have fewer social connections over time. In addition, their extended families may be more geographically dispersed than in past generations, making it difficult to maintain in-person familial contact.”
That may be all right for some seniors; however, for others, their already strained social connections are stretched further from stay-at-home mandates and social distancing recommendations, causing them to feel isolated and lonely. It may not seem like much at first but, according to Zuke, extended periods of isolation and loneliness place seniors at higher risk for dementia, depression, anxiety, suicide, and premature mortality. Impoverished seniors are in a more dire situation with less access to good quality mental health care and less access to community organizations, such as senior centers and transportation services. That’s why a friendly visit and a stocking gifted through the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive can make a real difference for its participants.
This year marks the 5th Anniversary for SEICAA’s Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive. Each holiday season, local seniors’ needs for happiness and social connection increases, and our community comes together continually to meet it. The unity we witness inspires us to believe that, for as much as local seniors need it, our community benefits from the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drive, too. And, given the divisions fronting our community, we want to share that unity with you. That’s why we’re ecstatic to announce that SEICAA’s Bannock County, Bear Lake County, and Power County offices will host their own Socks for Seniors Stocking Drives this year!
None of the Stocking Drives would be possible without the support we receive from local businesses and individuals, so we hope you’ll join us for what we hope will be the largest program yet! Know with a donation to any one of the Socks for Seniors Stocking Drives, you are not just donating a gift; you are spreading happiness to those who need it most.
(Source: “COVID-Driven Isolation Can Be Dangerous for Older Adults.” National Council on Aging.)