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Thaddeus Stebens doesn’t want people to take little things in everyday life for granted. He is homeless, but primarily stays in the Westminster area where he does traffic control for a living. Stebens is close to getting housing he says, but everyday necessities remain a challenge as he battles thyroid cancer. One way he gets by is going to The Action Center human-services nonprofit in Lakewood where he gets food and clothing once a month.
“I know that if I really need to, I can come (to the Action Center) daily. With all it takes for me to shower, get my food and maintain my job, that kind of stuff wouldn’t happen without a place like this,” said Stebens. “Sometimes you just need that extra gift.”
The Action Center, which provides food, clothing, utility assistance and more to those in need, is asking for the community to give that extra gift in an attempt to break a world record. The resource center is looking to receive 10,587 pairs of new socks. Collections will take place on Dec. 4 from noon to 5 p.m. at The Action Center, located at 8745 W. 14 Ave. In addition, The Action Center is asking for a dollar donation with each pair of socks that will go toward the reopening of its overnight shelter.
The idea behind gathering 10,587 pairs of socks correlates with the 10,587 people in Colorado who are experiencing homelessness, John Covert, director of development for The Action Center said. At the beginning of the year, the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative found that there are 434 people in Jefferson County struggling with homelessness. The data was discovered through a point-in-time survey _ a count of sheltered and unsheltered people on a single night.
“I see a lot of families that are homeless, and in my mind, I see a mom with kids. To think they don’t even have socks to wear breaks my heart,” said Covert. “Sometimes people are just in need of the very basics in life, and socks are kind of basic. We put them on in the morning, and we don’t really think about it.”
Back in September, The Action Center announced it was reopening its shelter in a partnership with Red Rocks Community College. The shelter will house six to 12 Red Rocks Community College students who are experiencing homelessness. It was previously shutdown last summer after a drop in donations forced a closure.
“What we hope we can do is sustain (the shelter) for the future. If we can stop homelessness to help people complete education, then that makes a huge difference to our community,” said Dr. Michele Haney, president of Red Rocks Community College.
Previously, the record for the largest sock drive was held by the Temple University Campus Program Board, which in 2017 collected 2,798 socks. The Action Center’s world record attempt will be chronicled by the Breaking History team, a media group that works to break world records to shed light on issues impacting the community.
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