Sunday January 04, 2015

Socks for the homeless

Listen 11:37
SockpileFEATURE

Helen Bennet's handknit socks for the homeless (Photo by Wendy Ospina) (Wendy Ospina)

It is always a treat to read the letters that arrive at The Sunday Edition, but especially so when we hear that one of our stories has had a real impact on peoples' lives. This is one such letter.

It is from Wendy Ospina of Toronto, who wrote on behalf of her mother Helen Bennet:

"Last February, I heard your documentary about socks for the homeless. I was touched by how important socks are to the homeless -- how warm socks are critical to their survival. 

"My Mom has knit socks since she was a girl, and I am lucky to have a lovely collection of wool socks.

"In March, my Mom went out to empty her garbage and slipped and fell on the ice, shattering her femur.  Her doctor told her she would have to stay off her leg for three -- and maybe as long as six -- months.  Being a very active woman in her 70s, she was devastated.

"My solution was to give her a project to keep her mind occupied. I bought her wool, and gave her a goal: to knit socks for the homeless. Her sock knitting became a thing of legend among the residents and staff at the respite facility where she lived for 5 months.

"So many people would stop and make conversation with her about her knitting. With pride and purpose she was able to say, 'I am knitting socks for the homeless.'

"She is back on her feet with the help of a cane, and the socks have been donated to the Salvation Army. Because of you, 43 homeless people will have warmer feet this winter, with wool socks by Helen.

"I am enclosing two pairs for you to give away to someone you see in need. Thank you for your documentary. It made a difference."

And a big thank you to you, Wendy Ospina, and to your Mom and master-knitter Helen Bennet. The socks are not only thick and cozy, they are beautiful. We shall indeed donate them on your behalf.

Your letter motivated us to re-broadcast the documentary that made a difference. Sunday Edition producer Frank Faulk took to the streets of Toronto to bring us this story.