Heavy rainfall season has hit the South Coast and for people living on the streets, keeping their feet warm and dry can be next to impossible. This is why a Victoria-based non-profit is asking British Columbians who can spare a buck or two for a pair of socks to help.
The Cool Aid Society operates homeless shelters and low-income housing programs in the provincial capital and for the 14th year, is fundraising to purchase 10,000 pairs of socks to give to people in need.
Until Nov. 30, people can donate online at coolaid.org/socks. Every dollar equals one pair of socks and if the goal is reached before the campaign deadline, any money over $10,000 will be used to purchase other clothing.
Dave MacMain, a Cool Aid employee who manages the 84-bed co-ed Rock Bay Landing shelter, says socks were chosen as the primary item because people experiencing homelessness are often on their feet with inadequate foot gear and this can wreak havoc on their health.
"As foot health declines, so does overall health decline," said MacMain, calling it a "cascading effect" from wet feet to worse issues.
Trench foot, or immersion foot syndrome, is a serious condition that results from your feet being wet for too long that can lead to damage to the skin, blood vessels and nerves in the feet. Frostbite, athlete's foot and painful blisters are other dangers of wet feet.
"When your feet are so compromised with issues, you can't even get to the health-care appointment," said MacMain, speaking to CBC's On The Island Friday.
This year, Cool Aid has partnered with a company called PVH legwear, parent company to McGregor Socks, to provide the fresh footwear.
Since the program began, a total 112,500 pairs of socks, valued at $562,500, have been given out.
MacMain also noted the need for warm clothing such as coats and long underwear as people prepare to try and weather the winter outdoors. To check what is needed and where it can be physically dropped off, visit Cool Aid's website.