Q&A: Sock It to Me on supporting people and communities ‘two feet at a time’
As our community continues to face historic challenges on many fronts, we’ve also seen organizations and people step up in 2020 to help others with equally historic generosity and support. This includes the company Sock It to Me, which recently partnered with Regence to donate 5,000 pairs of socks and 2,700 pairs of underwear to nonprofits serving individuals and families across Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah.
We spoke with Matt Katz, Account Manager at Sock It to Me, to learn how the company has leaned in this year to support those most in need. Answers have been modified for length and clarity.
What were some of the challenges Sock It to Me faced this year and how did your organization adapt?
We pivoted some of our production in early March to meet a new community need—face masks. The machinery that produces our wide-calf knee-high’s (known as “Stretch-It”) was retrofitted to make dual-layer, copper-infused masks. Our design and operations team acted quickly, moving on all cylinders to confirm the benefits of copper knitting, do some quick wear and consumer testing, and fast track delivery to bring the masks to market. This included donating masks to local Meals On Wheels volunteers who served our most vulnerable communities during the initial COVID-19 spike. We could not have been happier and prouder to partner with Meals on Wheels—and we look forward to working together more in the years ahead.
Can you share a little more about why Sock It to Me was eager to partner with Regence on the socks and underwear donations?
Donations are a huge part of our work and team culture. We budget every year to donate resources and time to community partners, locally or otherwise. When Regence approached us with the initial idea, we were eager to jump on board! It’s always great working with others to help support those most in need, especially in such a challenging year and winter season.
How else has Sock It to Me given back and supported those in need this year?
We were excited to participate in several efforts this year. This includes our annual donation to Providence Children’s Health Foundation, through their Children’s Health Center with 500 pairs of socks for children receiving inpatient and outpatient care. We also did our annual Red Cross blood drive, as well as supplied masks to the staff at the City of Milwaukie, Ore., which is where our company is based. Finally, we held a virtual COVID-19 Sock Drive where customers could buy a prepack of socks to send a frontline worker. It was a huge hit and helped us deliver socks and masks to health care workers near and far.
How would you describe the impact a pair of socks can have on helping someone?
We know our homeless population continues to grow year over year. There’s also the fact that resources and shelters this year are maxed out as there’s more need than ever. While it may not seem like a lot, a pair of socks can make all the difference for a person who may not have a place indoors to sleep at night. A well-made sock can help retain warmth as well as make a person feel more comfortable and confident. Our vision at Sock It to Me is to celebrate a person’s natural magic—we believe the world would be a better place if everyone got to express their genuine selves. As we continue to live our vision and find ways to help others, we truly believe we can help people two feet at a time!
In addition to your community-based work, how are you supporting employees during these challenging times?
Every year, Sock It to Me offers employees paid time off specifically to volunteer and help their local communities. We feel it is important for our team to engage and make a positive difference in whatever way works for them. We have also covered some costs for employees to work remote, such as high-speed internet connection, to stay safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Whether working from home offices or elsewhere, however, helping our employees means that we can continue to deliver the best customer service and products.