Monday, August 13, 2007

Socks and Hats and Other Goodies for Soldiers

Regardless of one's opinion about the politics and events leading to our servicemen and servicewomen spending long months in Afghanistan and Iraq, these men and women (some barely more than kids) are there, putting themselves on the line every day. Regardless of one's opinion about how well or not the military has equipped and supplied our servicemembers, they're out there the deserts and mountains, freezing winters and blistering hot summers. Here in California we joke about our seasons being flood, mudslide, fire and earthquakes. For most of those in Iraq and Afghanistan, the seasons are sandy, dust, and mud. Many are away from things like showers, clean/dry clothes, and communications with their stateside families for days or weeks at time.

There are many "support our troops" organizations that have arising through the years, each addressing sometimes different, sometimes overlapping, needs. I chose to become a small part of the Socks for Soldiers, a group started by servicemom Kim Opperman in Ohio.

The primary focus of the group is to knit wonderful wool boot socks for servicemembers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since it can be very stressful working on BBS (big black socks) (though not nearly as stressful as it is for the recipients of our socks), we can take the occasional break by knitting leisure socks (colors! patterns!) and washcloths.

Some folks who make hand-made soaps are donating their soaps, which Kim wraps in the washcloths.

Some of us are making wool caps, too, black ones to be worn when in uniform under their helmets, more colorful ones that can be worn during off hours and when sleeping.

Why wool? Because wool is better than cotton and acrylic at wicking away sweat, and doesn't get soggy or stretched out like wet cotton does. Acrylic is not only not was warm as wool and lacks wool's wicking properties, acrylic and other such yarns melt into the skin, severely worsening burns and injuries when hit with fire or red-hot shrapnel.

Those who can donate goodies they pick up locally and ship to SFS--drink mix packets and other snack foods, toiletries, paperback books, music CDs, crafting materials, etc. Kim packs these all up, sending boxes of goodies--all packed with socks, many containing hats and washcloths and soaps--to companies, chaplains, and about-to-deploy national guard units.

Over 2400 pairs of socks have been sent off today - but there is a waiting list of over 1000 names of servicemembers whose names have been sent in by command personnel, families, and fellow servicemembers.

In World War I, the Red Cross had a program called Knit Your Bit, where Red Cross volunteers and others produced a prodigious number of socks, sweaters, hats and more for servicemen. If you're a knitter, please consider joining SFS, reading through the New Members material in the Files section of the email list, and start making your first pair of SFS BBS. If you've never knit a pair of socks before, that's okay - you'll find yourself in the company of other list members who are knitting their very first pair, too.

If you can't knit, or don't have time to knit for SFS, please consider making a donation of money to help pay for shipping everything (SFS pays the going postal rate for shipping all its packages to military bases), and you know how expensive it has gotten to ship parcels) and buy the snack and other comfort items. If you have a large stock of snack or comfort items, SFS is a 501(c)3 nonprofit - just contact Kim (sockforsoldier-owner [at] to find out where to send donations or to find out what's on the Wish List.

Here's a photo of the things I recently finished that will be sent off this week.

I am going to include a little card of support with each item, ones I got from my friend Martha, who is a talented paper and stamp artist:

As for the obligatory Lizard photo, here's the boy, wanting to know why I'm taking photos of stuff instead of spraying him with water and picking off some more shed from his head:

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Blogger IggySingh said...

i am definitely in LOVE with Mike :)

do u think being 4.5 years as a green ig and being about 4.5 feet+ is okay growth?

8:25 PM  

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