Hop-goers give their heart and ‘soles’ to help homeless


Compassion was brewing alongside the beer during the sixth annual Vero Beach Sock Drive at Walking Tree Brewery, where supporters donated new socks in lieu of paid admission to advance the cause of helping others through “Soleful Generosity. Warmth in Every Step.”

The evening also featured professional dance instructor Karren Walter, who helped folks fancy up their footwork with a line dance instructional demonstration. Afterward, the dance floor was filled with a flurry of bobby socks and poodle skirts as people showed off their moves and vied for prizes in the dance competition, before dancing the night away to the music of the Hillbilly Hellcats.

The socks collected during the Sock Hop and dropped off at more than 40 locations around Indian River County are meant to warm the ‘soles’ and hearts of the homeless and downtrodden.

Not surprisingly, clean, dry socks are one of the most requested items in homeless shelters.

Most people experiencing homelessness walk quite a lot, making foot health imperative.

Keeping feet dry and warm reduces the chance of foot-related infections and the development of long-term health issues.

“Donating a pair of socks is a small ask, but it can have a huge impact,” said Barry Shapiro, event organizer and Vero Beach Sock Drive founder.

This year the Vero Beach Sock Drive collected and delivered more than 15,000 pairs of new socks to those in need.

“Most people want to do something good but can’t make the time or a huge financial commitment,” added Shapiro.

Locally, socks will be distributed to The Source, Hope for Families Center, Gifford Youth Achievement Center, SafeSpace, Samaritan Center for Homeless Families, Hibiscus Children’s Center, Camp Haven, Our Father’s Soup Kitchen, LifeNet4Families, Vietnam Veterans of Indian River County, United Against Poverty, Sebastian Women’s Shelter, and First Baptist Church of Vero Beach.

For more information, visit verobeachsockdrive.com.

Photos by Stephanie LaBaff

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