When Suburban Newspaper publisher Michael Sochaczevski saw a headline in last week’s paper that began with the words “Sock It To Me” he was immediately intrigued. After all, his friends have been calling him “Sock” all of his life. Delving further into the story, Sochaczevski learned about the sixth annual Montreal Sock It To Me campaign, spearheaded by Pointe Claire paramedic Barry Christensen whose modest goal was to collect 3,000 pairs of socks for the homeless. With the COVID-19 pandemic he was not sure he could equal last year’s total of 5,804. That was until he got a call from Suburban Associate Publisher Oliver Sutton with a message from Sochaczevksi.

“Our publisher would like to provide 5,000 pairs of socks,” Sutton announced. Christensen was blown away. Sochaczevski and Sutton proceeded to approach some manufacturers. In the end they more than doubled their initial offer, with 10,400 pairs of socks. Some Suburban employees went to the manufacturing plant and loaded three SUVs with the merchandise, bringing them to a more than delighted Christensen’s depot.

“We are encouraging all of our readers to donate to a cause like this in advance of the holiday season,” said Sochaczevski, whose sister Cheryl was there for the presentation. “Everyone is suffering because of the pandemic, but some of us are more fortunate than others. We write about many good causes in our paper and we hope that people will read those stories carefully and lend a hand.The Sochaczevski family and The Suburban Newspaper, both represented by Cheryl Sochaczevski Solomon and Oliver Sutton, were happy to join Barry Christensen in his cause of “Sock it to me.” Homelessness in Montreal is a shame, and in our winter is a real misery. We should all do what we can to help, because we can imagine what it might be like if we were in the situation and everyone just passed us by and looked away. Our family chose to join this cause because it was a little unique and took care of a need that just wasn’t being addressed by others. We congratulate Barry on his noble work in touching and improving the lives of so many and affording us the opportunity to contribute.”

As he has for 39 years Christensen was on the road for Urgences Santé when he got the good news. “It was not a great day as we had to deal with some COVID points, then Oliver called me with the news,” said Christensen. “It made my day. Today’s drop off was just amazing. I’m just sad my smile was hidden behind a mask. This year’s campaign looks to be the best yet.”

The sock drive benefits St. Michael’s Mission in downtown Montreal. Christensen founded Montreal Sock It To Me after working alongside outreach workers, the homeless and St. Michael’s at Berri-UQAM metro for 10 years. It was at the Metro where he got to know the homeless a little bit more. “The wintertime is a hard time for feet for the homeless,” he said. “Wet feet, cold feet. Socks are a great way for the workers to approach the homeless to see if they need assistance.

The campaign continues until Nov. 30.

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