Home ‘It’s a whole community effort:’ Socks provide comfort of home for children

‘It’s a whole community effort:’ Socks provide comfort of home for children

Rebecca Barnabi

Shenandoah Automotive of Harrisonburg donated 800 pairs of children’s socks to the pediatrics unit of Sentara RMH on Friday.

According to a press release, Shenandoah Automotive owner Steven Faught said his customers donated the socks, which will be worn by children receiving medical care at the Harrisonburg hospital.

“It means a lot to give back, it’s something different,” Faught said in the press release. “There was a need there, I don’t think anybody really knew about, so nobody was filling that need. It was something exciting for us to jump in and donate to.”

The sock donation has been coordinated by Shenandoah Automotive since 2017.

“Steven approached the RMH Foundation wanting to do something special for the youngest patients here at the hospital,” Ben Craig, director of annual giving for the RMH Foundation, said in the press release. “He wanted to do something beyond just cash donations. Something that the greater community could get behind and support.”

The effort became a year-round donation of socks for children.

“Almost 12,000 pairs donated so far,” Faught said. “If there’s ever an emergency and a kid comes into the hospital, they don’t think about grabbing fresh socks or fresh underwear to have to change into when they’re here. So, there was a big need for that.”

Donated socks have superhero and princess character designs to make them fun for the children, but also serve a purpose in helping the healing process.

“As nurses, we love anything that’s a comfort item that can make patients feel at home and parents feel a little more comfortable. Socks, especially, are a big need here on the pediatric unit,” Whitney Saulton, a pediatric registered nurse at Sentara RMH, said in the press release. “We put IVs in feet and children are notorious for wanting to reach down and pull at that line. So having a sock over it is actually really helpful. It distracts them, it helps them to forget about the oxygen sensor, the IV line, anything that’s going on with their foot.”

Faught said he coordinates the sock drive, but the donations make an impact because of the support of his customers.

“It’s the community that does it. It’s the community who donates the socks and underwear and money. We’ll go do some shopping and stuff, but it’s a whole community effort,” Fraught said.

Craig said Sentara RMH is “grateful for their support in this special way. These socks and underwear are a need as a practical item as well as a comfort.”

Item donations such as the socks enable the RMH Foundation to put cash donations toward patient care, such as medical technology and equipment.

Iitem and cash donations to the RMH Foundation are welcome online or by calling 540-689-8544.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.