Melissa Bakken has high hopes for the annual “Sock Tree.”
She’s expecting a more than charmed third year of collecting donations for Three Rivers Crisis Center, Wahpeton. Bakken, Leach Public Library’s director, has been an organizer and promoter of the Sock Tree since the annual Christmas event began in 2017.
“We have moved the tree closer to the window, so its lights shine better for people to see,” Bakken said. “An older lady came in Monday, when the weather was still kind of rough for some of us. She said she had to make sure we got her socks.”
Donations for the Sock Tree began Saturday, Nov. 30 and will be accepted through Tuesday, Dec. 31. Library patrons, area residents or even visitors are asked to donate new socks of any size for men, women, children and infants.
“The one condition is that they have to be new,” Bakken said. “We’re certainly happy with the turnout so far and we know it’s going to continue.”
Five-hundred fifty-six pairs of socks were collected in 2018, Daily News previously reported. It was nearly double the 312 pairs donated in 2017.
It’s an annual tradition for Bakken and library staff to donate the socks all at once to Three Rivers Crisis Center, located at 509 Dakota Ave. in Wahpeton. Charity nearly led to misfortune, however, when the building caught fire in January 2019.
“We had been very concerned after the fire,” Bakken said. “But I talked to Susan (Rittenour, crisis center director) and she said they were able to save all of the donations.”
Thee Rivers Crisis Center is a private, nonprofit agency that provides services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child sexual assault in Richland County, North Dakota. New, comfortable socks are among the items most requested by victims who have left an violent environment.
“The people that come here are coming here for a reason,” Rittenour said previously. “Giving comes naturally to this community.”
In addition to socks, personal care items, hats and mittens are also priority items for Three Rivers Crisis Center clients. For more information, call 701-642-2115 or visit 509 Dakota Ave.
“I came in this morning and there were three bags of socks,” Bakken said. “We try to hang as many of them as we can on the tree. Some of them come in really big pairings.”
There’s one idea Bakken hadn’t thought of: having “garlands” of socks to complement the tree.
The Leach Public Library is located at 417 Second Ave. N., Wahpeton. It will host a community appreciation day from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12.
“That’s being put on by our Friends of the Library,” Bakken said. “We’ll have treats and coffee available and you’ll be able to see and donate to our Sock Tree.”