I didn't think much about the slip-resistant socks we used to throw away after patients were done with them until, that is, I underwent surgery myself at our hospital. It struck me as extremely wasteful that the socks I'd worn for only a couple hours were ticketed for the landfill if I didn't bring them home. That's when I started my crusade to collect and wash unwanted socks and pass them along to the less fortunate. Since my surgery, I've been collecting left-behind socks and figure I've washed and donated about 15,000 pairs.
Before we launched this program, about half of our patients would leave socks behind after surgery. Now that we tell them that we give socks to the homeless, close to 75% of our patients choose to donate their footwear to our cause. Tony Bonacci, a deacon at my church, delivers the socks to a local soup kitchen. The socks have been a huge hit people at the soup kitchen gather around Tony's car when it pulls up, asking for several pairs.
Kathy Francis, RN, BSN