Carolina Ruiz and her family like to choose a service project to do around Christmas each year. Finding a project that all ages can be involved with is often difficult. When they found SockFest they knew they had the right fit.

Each year the Mountainland Association of Governments Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) sponsors a service project with which businesses, groups, families or individuals can involve themselves. This year, the service project was the SockFest.

The event ran two months during the holiday season culminating Monday with the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

For this year’s project, RSVP distributed six collection bins around the county, but it was the 45 mini-drives that garnered the most socks. When completely counted, the project collected 18,660 pairs of socks.

RSVP provided those interested in organizing a drive a packet of information and tools to help them get started.

Ruiz’ husband Isidro Ramirez took the SockFest to his employer Young Living Essential Oils. The children made fliers and delivered them to friends and at their church.

“The children had a box outside our front door,” Ruiz said. “We just wanted a service project everyone could be involved with. It was something simple enough for the kids to get excited and know they can do.”

Their drive, collecting from friends, family and work associates garnered 40 pairs of socks.

Megan Young works for Awardco. She and three work associates: Bronson Dameron and Madi Plowman, wanted to do something during the holidays to give back. Young got online with the JustServe app that led to the RSVP website and the SockFest project.

“The employees really like being able to just buy something,” Young said. “It was not a real inconvenience.”

The Awardco drive lasted just over two weeks and the employees collected 335 pairs of socks.

La Nay Brinkerhoff serves on the RSVP board and said she would hear them discuss the service projects in their meetings. She decided she could do a mini-drive as part of her family’s Christmas party.

“Instead of exchanging presents, they brought socks,” Brinkerhoff said. “We had men’s, women’s, children’s, boy’s and girl’s socks. We got everything. We got work socks and ankle socks and socks with monkeys on them.”

In all, Brinkerhoff’s family and some of her quilting friends at the Utah State Hospital collected a box about 18 square inches full of socks.

According to Stephanie Benson, public relations coordinator for Mountainland Association of Governments, new pairs of socks are being distributed among 20 different charitable organizations.

“It is incredible to see the impact that can be made when different groups from the community band together in a common cause,” Benson said.

Retired Senior Volunteer Program is a Senior Corps program that is run locally by MAG Aging & Family Services. RSVP connects volunteers age 55+ to volunteer opportunities in the community. Locally, there are more than 600 volunteers who donate more than 72,000 hour of service each year, according to Benson.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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