Montreal paramedic leads effort to collect socks for the homeless

A longtime Montreal paramedic is spearheading a drive to collect socks to distribute to the homeless as the winter months approach.

Barry Christensen has spent 35 years as an Urgences Sante paramedic — about 10 of those in the area around the Berri-UQAM metro station, dealing with the homeless.

He says while many people donate coats and other clothes for the homeless for the winter, he understands just how important socks are.

"The wintertime is a hard time for feet for the homeless. Wet feet, cold feet," he says. "Plus, socks is a great way for the workers to approach the homeless to see if they need assistance."

It's the second year the Sock it To Me drive is on, to benefit the St. Michael's Mission on President-Kennedy Ave., where Christensen volunteers. Last year's initiative collected a thousand pairs.

Christensen will pick your socks up, or you can drop them off at St. Michael's Mission, or at the Trading Post, at 19 Valois Bay Ave. in Pointe Claire.

It's one of many socks-for-homeless drives underway in Montreal — several Montreal-area high schools have been taking part in the Socktober campaign, where new pairs of adult socks are being collected throughout the month of October for the Dans La Rue organization.

And next month, a group of restaurateurs in Montreal will take part in the third annual Socks for Bubbly campaign, which will see a dozen restaurants take donations of socks from customers in exchange for a glass of bubbly. 

The initiative, launched in 2014 by David Ferguson of Montreal's Restaurant Gus, took in 8,700 pairs last year for the Old Brewery Mission.