Hand-dyed apparel company donates foot-warming gifts to local shelters

To the average person, socks aren't a very exciting gift. But to a homeless person, a present of well-made socks is appreciated and highly sought, providing crucial warmth and protection from the elements. Still, socks remain one of the scarcest items at many shelters. Local entrepreneur Jackie Ayres was inspired to help address this need with her clothing line's Socks for Hope program, with heartwarming (and feet-warming) results.

Ayres, owner and designer at the apparel company Dyetology, initially launched her collection as a creative outlet while working in corporate design leadership roles for global fashion brands. The line quickly built a loyal following, and she made it her full-time career. In March 2017, Ayres read an article noting that socks are often under-donated and among the most-needed shelter items. “When people say they have this light-bulb moment, it really was. I was already making socks when I read that,” she says. “It was a no-brainer.”

Ayres and her family already had been longtime donors to Faith Mission, making her shelter partner an easy decision. By last October, Socks for Hope was a reality. She donated one pair of new Dyetology socks to Faith Mission for each pair purchased, and she created 275 additional pairs as a special holiday gift for those who use the shelter.

“The socks that Jackie donates are amazing. The clients talk about it all the time,” says McKenzie Hopkins, Faith Mission's manager of volunteer services.

Ayres plans to continue her project indefinitely. “I can feel like I'm doing something for the community,” she explains, “to feel like what I'm doing makes a difference.”

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