Low-income kids to get free socks

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(Host) Low income children in Vermont will keep their toes warm this winter, thanks to help from a charitable foundation and a Northfield sock maker.

VPR’s John Dillon has the story:

(sounds of machinery)

(Dillon) At the Cabot Hosiery Mill in Northfield, Donald Provoncha works a machine that presses finished socks into the correct shape and size.

(Provoncha) "These are extra large. See how big they are, so for like a size 12 or 15 or something. Every size is different. That’s a large foot there. There’s a medium foot over there."

(Dillon) The Cabot mill used much smaller foot-shaped forms for a recent run of 10,000, Navy blue, Merino wool socks.

The socks were then packed 12-dozen to a box for distribution to homeless shelters and community action agencies. From there, they’ll be given away to low income children.

The sock project was launched by the Vermont Caring Foundation, a non-profit affiliated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont.

Kevin Goddard is a vice president of the health insurance company. He said the foundation historically has given out grants to organizations that work on children’s health issues.

(Goddard) "This year, though, as we were coming through the summer and fall it was clear that these times are different. And the board of the Caring Foundation sat down at the end of the summer and said we wonder if there’s something we can do that would specifically acknowledge and address the fact that these are very, very difficult economic times for many Vermont’s families."

(Dillon) Goddard says the foundation did some research and learned that low income families are often in need of warm under-clothing.

(Goddard) "And we thought there’s nobody in the world that we know of who makes better under-garments, particularly socks, than our friends at the at Cabot Hosiery Mills… They make them all here in Vermont. It’s all Vermonters doing the work."

(Dillon) So the non-profit provided $25,000, and the mill in Northfield got to work. Ric Cabot is executive vice president of the sock company.

(Cabot) "We’re happy to be able to make kid’s feet a little warmer. Obviously we think warm feet leads to a warm body, and a warm mind and a warm heart. And behalf of all the employees at Cabot Hosiery Mills we’re pleased to be part of this…"

(Dillon) The blue socks come in three sizes, and are made with Merino wool, a fiber known for its warmth, durability and non-itch qualities.

The sock project is likely to continue. Cabot says he’s already talking to the foundation about producing more next year.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Northfield.

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