Bethel Park Police gather 1000’s of pairs of socks for charity within the Pittsburgh space
Bethel Park Police Department recently partnered with a nonprofit in Pittsburgh to collect socks for the city’s homeless and raise awareness of the department’s K-9 unit.
Officers were able to obtain 3,464 pairs of socks from three collection points and two community events.
They were donated to Socks with a Mission (SWAM), a charity founded last February by Amy Wetterau and her daughter Audrey, 11, from Upper St. Clair.
The drive’s organizer, Detective Joelle Dixon, attributed most of the legwork with school visits and demonstrations to K-9 officer Drew Jacobs and his partner Jeez, a 6-year-old Belgian Malinois.
“We were very overwhelmed with the donations in the community,” said Dixon. “You put these two on Facebook and people just wanted to help. It was very successful. We got a lot of interest. “
Wetterau said Bethel Park’s ride was a record breaker.
“It was our biggest ride so far,” she said. “It was just amazing. I think this is what happens when you bring a dog and child together. It’s a winning combination. We didn’t expect to get that many socks, but we’re really glad we did. “
Dixon said not many people knew their department had a police dog, and helping a charity was a great way to interact with people.
“We wanted to do something so the community could see how valuable police dogs are,” she said.
Collection points included the Police Department, Community Center, Evy True Value Hardware, and No-Cook Tuesday, a community center food truck event on April 13-20.
The trip itself was from April 11th to 25th. Bombas, a sock company, donated 250 pairs.
Police posted several updates to the sock drive on the department’s Facebook page to further support the posts.
Wetterau and Dixon know each other through their children’s activities.
Dixon’s daughter Alexandra, 16, rides American Quarter Horses with Audrey at Caustelot Farms in Cecil.
The girls also take part in horse riding competitions.
“We met in the barn,” said Wetterau. “We both have horses there. Our children are just horse nuts. “
Conversations escalated from the barn to the police station and likely future sock rides.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Wetterau. “We are realizing that there is such a great need (for socks) in Pittsburgh and now we are branching out to shelters in Erie and Youngstown, Ohio. The demand seems to be greater than ever. “
She has said so far that by the end of May this year they are expected to have handed out about 19,000 pairs of socks.
SWAM also partnered with Plum Rotary earlier this year to collect socks. They collected just over 3,000 pairs.
Wetterau said her daughter thought about collecting socks for the first time in 2019 after a class at Elementary Student Leadership Academy where her Upper St. Clair teacher talked about kindness and his efforts to help the homeless.
The support started to grow and they were able to evolve into a charity.
More information is available at sockswithamission.org.
Michael DiVittorio is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter.