150 pairs of socks donated towards those in need during Soctober


Dallas Wiertella/NW

ALL ABOUT SOCKS — NMU’s Student Nurses Association were able to collect 150 pairs of socks that were donated at various drop-off locations on campus towards those in need. Socks collected went to Room at the Inn for distribution.

Ryley Wilcox

The NMU Student Nurses Association (SNA) collected around 150 pairs of socks during Socktober, a yearly event where the student organization collects socks during the month of October at drop off locations on campus. 

Donation boxes for the socks were set up across campus in Jamrich Hall, the Lydia M. Olson Library, The Science Building and the Woods residence hall complex. Collected socks were then distributed locally within Marquette said Emily Long, SNA vice president and chairperson for Socktober. 

“There are a couple of shelters that one of our professors brought up that needed supplies this year,” Long said. “So, we’re going to spread collected socks between these three places.”

Socks will be donated to the Room at the Inn warming center in downtown Marquette and two transitional housing and recovery shelters: The Janzen House and Superior Housing Solutions — both partners of United Way of Marquette County — which serves to improve community well-being by bringing together people, organizations and resources, according to their website. 

The SNA hosted the first Socktober in 2018. Long helped in bring the event back last year in 2021 following COVID-19 in collaboration with a senior in the student organization.

“Someone saw that there was a need for socks and Socktober just kind of fits, and then it has just always continued,” Long said.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are 70 people that are homeless on a given night in Marquette and Alger counties, and sometimes shelters do not always have all the necessary supplies to help.

“Our homeless shelters just cannot get everything that everyone could possibly need, so we are filling in those gaps,” Long said. “We asked what supplies do they need? What supplies do they have a lot of and what don’t they really need and what does our population need?”

Long said by collecting socks the organization can provide self-care to homeless or low-income people who may not even have shoes or other clothing to feel better physically and mentally.

“Now they don’t have to worry about walking around being in pain, or people judging them and wondering ‘why do you not have socks?’” Long said.  “It’s one of those basic things that you cannot really think about it until you don’t have it.” 

Socktober also intends to fulfill a need within the community as the temperatures begin to drop and prevent health-related issues that could occur in the winter, Long said.

“It’s going to get very cold, and socks can help with frostbite and prevent foot ulcers,” Long said.  “We are trying to hopefully prevent health issues that people could have like these.”

For Long and others involved in the SNA, this allows them to be able to make an impact within the community as future medical professionals.  

“I like being able to collect what people will need and it feels like I’m giving back, and raising awareness of what other people will need, even if it’s just something basic like a sock,” Long said.

In the future, Long said the SNA wants to open up Socktober to include collecting other clothing items, such as underwear and plain undershirts. SNA is also looking to expand its outreach with donations to larger locations like the UP Health System’s Hospital and clinics in the area.