Local youth socks drive also focused on need for clothes, toiletries

Monique Runzer collected socks and other items for her Socks for Hamilton Youth program. This was her third year of gathering socks to give to local youth in need through the Caring Closet. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Monique Runzer collected socks and other items for her Socks for Hamilton Youth program. This was her third year of gathering socks to give to local youth in need through the Caring Closet. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

HAMILTON —Monique Runzer didn’t meet her original goal of gathering 2,000 socks for Hamilton children this year. But that was because she shifted her focus to collecting other things that The Caring Closet needed at least as much.

Runzer’s third annual “Socks for Hamilton OH Youth” sock drive helped The Caring Closet, which distributes clothing and other needed items to children in the city. She changed her plans from focusing on socks after asking the charity what else was needed and learning other items, including soap and toothpaste, would be helpful.

This year’s sock collection reaped “close to 1,500 pairs of socks” from contributors, including about 500 pairs of “really nice socks” from Hype Socks in Columbus, which manufactures sports footwear.

“My goal was 2,000,” she said, “but before I bought the other pairs I reached out to The Caring Closet and asked if they really wanted 2,000 pairs of socks, or could they use some other stuff, and they provided a list of stuff that I purchased with the money I raised.”

“My heart is so full of love and gratitude,” Runzer told the Journal-News. “Not only did I reach my goal in sock donations but I raised enough money to purchase a ton of items that The Caring Closet really needed such as jeans, underwear, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hoodies and more.”

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” she said to donors. “We are going to make a lot of children feel secure and loved.”

The Caring Closet, a charity at D and Main streets that distributes clothes to Hamilton kids, now most could use cash donations, said Tammy Bucher Sims, its executive director. That’s because the past two years the organization has had to cancel its annual fundraiser, Hamilton Witches’ Night Out because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That event typically raises enough money to pay the organization’s rent and utilities for the year.

ExplorePREVIOUSLY: Why Monique Runzer began collecting socks for Hamilton kids...

“She checked in with me this year and said, ‘Hey, what else do you need?’” Bucher Sims said. “I was able to give her a list, and she was able to purchase lots of things off of that list. Honestly, that was so incredibly helpful.”

“She’s such a kind woman with a giant heart,” Bucher Sims said. “We’re so thankful for her.”

Families in recent weeks have been donating clothing and other items to The Caring Closet, and not much has been going out during the winter break, so “the biggest need at this point is we need money,” especially because of the lack of the fundraiser. If the 2022 Witches’ Night Out can happen despite the pandemic, it will be on Oct. 21, for women only.

To donate directly to The Caring Closet, people can write a check and send it to The Caring Closet, PO Box 684, 6 South D St., Hamilton OH 45011. Its website is thecaringclosethamilton.com. Those wishing to tour The Caring Closet can make an appointment by emailing thecaringcloset@gmail.com.

The St. Antoninus School’s “Girls On The Run” club in Hamilton County’s Green Twp. collected socks from classmates, as did several other groups.

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The Girls on the Run club at St. Antoninus School in Green Township used this poster to encourage students to donate socks for a local sock drive. PROVIDED

The Girls on the Run club at St. Antoninus School in Green Township used this poster to encourage students to donate socks for a local sock drive. PROVIDED

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The Girls on the Run club at St. Antoninus School in Green Township used this poster to encourage students to donate socks for a local sock drive. PROVIDED

“A lot of local folks gave small and large donations,” Runzer said. “That is what makes it so great in my mind. Community.”

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