Cape Cod woman gathers socks for soldiersBy ABBY EISENBERG , Associated Press
Jul. 6, 2013 5:02 AM ET
YARMOUTH, Mass. (AP) — Opening a package and finding a new pair of socks feels like Christmas morning to some members of the military serving overseas, says Maureen Tuohy-Bedford, of Yarmouth.
If that's so, Tuohy-Bedford is like Santa Claus.
In conjunction with the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, she is collecting donations of socks to send to troops in Afghanistan. And the Socks for Soldiers drive has really taken off, expanding to several towns across Cape Cod and to a parallel effort in New York.
Tuohy-Bedford's son first made her aware of the need. She initially was surprised to hear that socks were among the most appreciated items he and his fellow Marines received on active duty. Soon, it made sense.
"Everyone can understand kids needing a clean pair of socks," she explained. She recalled that when her own children would come in from a summer day outside, she'd have to throw their muddy, sweaty socks straight into the washing machine.
But active troops — out fighting in the mud, sand and extreme heat — don't have regular access to laundry facilities. That's where Tuohy-Bedford comes in.
"We can't do their laundry, but we can send them socks," she said. "It's something we can do to take care of them."
Marine Sgt. Jay Massi, of Mashpee, said keeping feet clean and dry is important for active troops because if infection sets in, it can quickly take them out of combat. Massi was involved in recruiting Tuohy-Bedford's son and has been a friend of the family's for years.
"It seems like such a random and arbitrary thought for people here," he said of the troops' need for extra socks. "But over there, it's huge."
Tuohy-Bedford began collecting donations June 4 in a bin in her yard. Now, there are six drop-off points across Cape Cod, thanks to the support of local businesses and other groups. The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox also will live up to their name by collecting socks during home baseball games.
"Anything we can do to help our military and servicemen, I want to be a part of," said Timothy Bunce, owner of Buncey's Pizza and Sports Cafe in Dennis. Bunce set up a collection box at the restaurant.
"I look at it as anything the guys need — doesn't matter what it is — we want to do our part to give it to them," he said.
Tuohy-Bedford's cousin, Ellen Horan Chorba of Rockland, N.Y., is supplementing the effort by coordinating a collection in her area, too. Tuohy-Bedford will accept donations locally until July 10; she and her husband, Warren Bedford, plan to bring a rented truck to New York on July 14 to pick up those donations before assembling the care packages.
"The support has been phenomenal," Tuohy-Bedford said. "I'm not surprised at how good people are, but never thought they would give this much."