The Magnolia Lutheran Church (2414 31st Ave. W.) met its goal for collecting
10,000 socks for people in need around Seattle. The socks will be distributed
to Compass Housing Alliance’s Hygiene Center (77 S.
Washington St.) over the next few months.
The church met its goal the week before but was still
collecting socks until March 19.
On Sunday, March 23, the socks were blessed for the
people who will receive them.
In total, the church collected about 10,200 pairs of
socks, Pastor Kevin Bates estimated.
After the Queen Anne & Magnolia News first reported
on the story in the Jan. 29 issue, people from the community brought bags of
socks, and a local company offered a large sock donation.
Compass Housing is “tickled,” by the huge donation, Bates
said. He received a card from the nonprofit that explained that last year,
there was a time when the agency had run out of socks, but “thanks to Magnolia
Lutheran, we have many socks to provide” now.
“I am really proud of who we are as a community,” Bates
said of his congregation, “where we have been able to see our neighbors and
respond with contagious generosity.”
When the congregation initially set the goal to collect
and donate 10,000 socks, Bates assumed it would take them at least a year or
longer. He even laughed when someone suggested setting a deadline of the first
day of spring. But the community was motivated by its neighbors, he said.
“We’ve been able to see the hugeness of a problem in a
very particular, concrete way,” he said. “Everybody who receives a pair of
socks has a name and a story.”
And when they reached their goal, “it wasn’t a
fist-bumping, high-fiving, victory lap,” Bates said. The congregation instead
sang, “Doxology: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” the song the
gardener sings when he sees the children playing in “The Secret Garden.”
This wasn’t just about social justice for the church,
Bates said; it was also an act of faith.
The fundraiser was part of a larger, 12-point mission
strategy, which still has 11 goals to fulfill, Bates said. Now, they’re
focusing on hospitality, infrastructure and growing in faith. That doesn’t mean
they’ll stop focusing on neighbors in need, though.
“The fact that you can set an unfathomable goal and have
it happen sooner than anyone expected,” he said, “it just makes me pleasantly
stunned and makes me wonder what God will be up to next.”
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