Roberta DeDoming came up with the concept for her Sock It To ‘Em campaign while listening to a radio show in 2013. Photo by Terry Farrell

Sock It To ’Em Project brings warmth to the Comox Valley’s less fortunate

Sixth year of campaign promises to be most productive yet

People can draw inspiration from the most unexpected places.

For Roberta DeDoming, inspiration came from a radio program.

“It [the program] was all about the homeless and socks,” said DeDoming. “It was all about how if people’s feet get wet and their socks start running off of them and they get sores on their feet and they get infections, this could be the beginning of really ill health for a bunch of people who are incredibly compromised.

“I just listened to the documentary and they had some quotes from homeless people, and one of the guys said something like ‘a pair of socks can make the biggest difference in the world.’ So I was leaving the library one day and it was a rainy day and I just wanted to get home…, and as I was looking at some people [out in front of the Courtenay library] I thought ‘what if you were walking around and you couldn’t say that because you didn’t have a home?’ And literally, the project came to me all in a flash – in one piece. I knew exactly what it was going to be called and how it was going to work.”

And the Sock It To ‘Em Project was born. That was in the winter of 2013.

The Sock It To ‘Em Project is one where DeDoming (and now numerous helpers) hand knit socks for an annual sale.

The socks cost $35 a pair, and the net proceeds are used to buy packages of socks for the homeless and compromised in the Comox Valley. The socks purchased through the proceeds of the campaign are given to the Care-A-Van, and other organizations, for distribution to those in need. (A percentage of the money raised is held back to purchase more yarn for the next year’s campaign.) Each pair of socks sold through the project nets up to 10 pairs of socks for the Comox Valley.

The name of the project comes from a photo DeDoming has of her daughter Eva, taken on Denman Island, when Eva was a child.

Roberta credits this picture from the 1970s of her daughter showing a fist to a sock in a “sock it to ’em” pose, as the inspiration for the name of the campaign.

The photo shows Eva holding a fist at a sock that is hanging out to dry on the clothesline.

“When I saw that picture from all those years ago … I thought ‘Sock It To ‘Em, Eva’ and that’s the phrase that came to my mind.”

DeDoming did it on her own the first year. She made 18 pairs of socks, sold them all, went to Costco to buy as many quality socks as her proceeds allowed, and dozens of the Comox Valley’s needy had new socks. “On year one we provided 200 pairs of socks to those in need,” she said.

“It was at the end of that first cycle that it dawned on me that other people knit too. I don’t have to do this by myself. So I got other knitters involved. And I also found that as the project grew, I was overwhelming the Care-A-Van with socks, so I got in touch with AIDS Vancouver Island … and I went to the Nursing Centre. So know we [supply socks to] those three organizations, and they distribute the socks through their outreach programs.”

2018 marks the sixth year for the project. DeDoming said the Sock It To ‘Em Project has, to this point, supplied nearly 2,000 pairs of socks to those in need in our community.

This year, the Sock It To ‘Em Sale Days will take place at Cardero’s Cafe (232 Fifth Street) Tuesday, Nov. 6, through Saturday, Nov. 10, from 11:30 a.m. — 2:30 p.m. each day.

”This year’s selection is more beautiful and varied than ever,” said DeDoming. “We have adult sizes as well as bargain-priced children and infant socks and some truly irresistible baby booties. We also have a limited number of pairs of wool-free socks. All socks are nylon reinforced so will wear well.”

While the creation portion of the Sock It To ‘Em Project has concluded for 2018, DeDoming welcomes any knitters interested in joining the group for the 2019 project to contact her. The project will supply the sock yarn. For more information contact DeDoming: Home phone: 250-703-4731. Cell phone: 250-218-7501 E-mail:

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Socks are labelled and packaged and ready for sale prior to the 2017 campaign. Photo supplied.

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