In early February, university students at McMaster University and the University of Guelph donated hundreds of new socks to charities in their communities working with disadvantaged populations.
Besides raising some much-needed resources for charity—socks are the most requested item at many homeless shelters—the sock drive featured an aspect of friendly competition with school pride on the line.
Originally conceived by members of the University of Guelph’s Multi-Faith Resource Team, the sock drive served as part of that campus’s Multi-Faith Week. The theme of the week, “Love Your Neighbour,” called for some kind of service project alongside interfaith conversations about putting faith into action. When it was suggested that an intercollegiate challenge might enliven the charitable project, a willing rival was found in McMaster University and their chaplaincy office.
Students at both campuses were invited to bring new socks to donate, or to donate cash which could be used to purchase new socks. The University of Guelph’s sock donations would be split between Chalmers Community Services and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. McMaster ’s sock donations would go to Mission Services, Willow’s Place, and Socks4Souls.
At the end of the week, each campus would tally up their total number of pairs. The chaplaincy team that brought in the least number of socks would have to pose in the other school’s colours for a photo that would go on social media.
The Sock Smackdown ended up raising more than 2,000 pairs of socks! McMaster brought in 1,296 pairs, and Guelph brought in 881. Both chaplaincies can be found on Instagram by searching for @spiritualcareatmac and @ECMguelph.
The Diocese of Niagara supports the Ecumenical Chaplaincy at McMaster, where Rev. Allison Barrett serves as Campus Minister, and the Ecumenical Campus Ministry at Guelph, where Andrew Hyde is Campus Minister.