From front left, Leach Public Library Assistant Nicole Bigwood, Three Rivers Crisis Center Mobile Advocate Jadyn Campbell, Center Director Susan Rittenour and Library Director Melissa Bakken with some of the 1,762 undergarments, socks and underwear, donated by library patrons over the holidays.
It turns out there were a few more presents on and under the Leach Public Library’s sixth annual Sock Tree than met the eye.
Earlier this month, Daily News reported that Three Rivers Crisis Center, Wahpeton, would receive 1,759 pairs of undergarments including 194 pairs of underwear. Leach Public Library Director Melissa Bakken found one more three-pack of socks, bringing the final total of undergarments given Tuesday, Jan. 10 to 1,762 pairs.
“Every year, it just keeps building and it’s so much fun,” Center Director Susan Rittenour said. “You should see the looks on people’s faces when we have them laid out and they get to pick out socks for themselves. Especially with the younger ones, it’s just so exciting.”
Picking out socks can provide an unexpected but genuine bit of joy amid trying circumstances. Three Rivers Crisis Center works with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Women, men and children of all ages who are relocating due to violence often have to abandon their possessions including clothing.
“This year, I sorted the boxes. It’s maybe a little easier to find the right sizes for people,” Bakken said. “That’s why it took me longer to count.”
Rittenour is continuously thankful for the Twin Towns Area residents and visitors who make the Sock Tree a local Christmas tradition. While this year’s 1,762 pairs of undergarments did not exceed the record 2,009 pairs of socks donated in 2021, they are enough to bring the cumulative total of socks to 6,532 pairs.
“Whether it’s a person in need or a non-profit like ours, we see that people are so giving in our community,” Rittenour said.
Three Rivers’ staff has grown. Jadyn Campbell is the center’s new mobile advocate, able to assist people in need throughout the wider Southern Red River Valley.
“This is a new program and we’re building it as we go,” Rittenour said. “We’re really excited to reach out to people throughout Richland County who can’t get to us. We’re going to get to them.”
“I’m looking forward to it,” Campbell said.
Library Assistant Nicole Bigwood joined Bakken to distribute the socks and underwear. The Leach Public Library, 417 Second Ave. N., will hold winter fun including a 10 a.m. family movie Saturday, Jan. 14 and the 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18 return of the Leach Reads Book Club. Patrons are encouraged to check out leachlibrarywahpeton.org for the latest events and updates. The library is closed Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
For more information about preventing abuse and aiding victims, call 701-642-2115 or visit Three Rivers Crisis Center at 509 Dakota Ave. in Wahpeton. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.