When it’s cold outside, having warm feet can make a big difference. When you’re homeless, or your resources are spread thin, sometimes warm socks are hard to come by.

So Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1044, based in Sanford, is reaching out across York County and beyond this winter season, looking for help to supply warm socks for homeless veterans and veterans who might not be homeless, but they ”“ and their families ”“ are in need.

How many socks are they looking for?

“At least 1,000 pairs,” said Jim Currier, the chapter chaplain.

Currier said he read about a similar project operated by a veterans organization out west, where winters are cold and there’s a large homeless veterans population. So he talked it over with others in the chapter, and the program began.

“Winter started early, so we started early,” he said.

The socks, for adult men and women, children and babies, will be distributed to shelters where homeless veterans congregate, and to agencies that serve veterans and their families. They’ll be distributed from January through March.

“We hope to get a good response,” said chapter president Joe Armstrong. “We don’t want anyone to have cold feet.”

Armstrong said the program has had some success already ”“ Cabela’s has donated more than 75 pairs of socks. And, Currier pointed out some retail stores this holiday season are offering deals whereby if you buy two or three pairs of socks, you get the same number free ”“ making it easy for consumers to help.

“Unfortunately, on any given night in America, over 63,000 homeless veterans sleep on the streets, in the woods, in abandoned buildings and in shelters,” said Armstrong. “We ask that you let them know they do still matter by dropping off new, warm socks.”

In Biddeford, folks may contribute to the Warm Feet for Veterans campaign by dropping socks off at Mardens, 435 Main St. In Waterboro, Family Dollar at 1009 Main St. is a drop-off location. In Sanford, drop-off locations include Papa’s Place restaurant at 789 Main St., Get Fired Up, 883 Main St., Magnolia’s Salon, 25 Daigle Lane, and the Hen House Cafe, 446 Main St. in Springvale village. Additional drop-off sites are being added regularly and will be listed online at www.vva1044maine.org.

Armstrong said those who want to help may also donate by check to: Vietnam Veterans of American Chapter 1044, P.O. Box 844, Sanford, ME 04073, and the organization will use the money to purchase socks.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]

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