Mason Family Flash

Socktober 2020

In 2016, Katie Clare, Associate Director for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, was looking for a way to contribute. “I just felt the call to do something and wanted it to be local. I also wanted it to be unique.”

This is when she came across Socktober, an effort created by Brad Montague and Robby Novak in 2011. Many of us can relate to the comfort of a warm pair of socks, but we can also relate to the discomfort of well-worn, holey socks. It turns out that new socks are one of the most requested but rarely donated items for shelters.

As Katie was looking for a way to contribute, the Mason advising community lost one of its longest serving members to cancer. Alice Watts had been an integral part of the College of Visual and Performing Arts for more than two decades. While being treated for cancer, members of the advising community treated Alice to fun, cheerful socks to help her stay warm and to lift her spirits. The decision was made to run Mason’s Socktober efforts in Alice’s honor.

In that first year, Katie delivered 458 pairs of socks to the Katherine Hanley Family Shelter, a transitional housing space that provides for up to 24 families, most often mothers with children. We have worked with this site every year because they are well-connected with the other county shelters, which guarantees the donation is put to meaningful use. In 2017, Katie teamed up with a colleague in Human Resources & Payroll and collected 1,300 pairs of socks. We were amazed by our university community’s support. We collected 1,126 pairs of socks in 2018 but only 462 pairs in 2019. In our fifth year, we hope to donate at least 500 pairs.

George Mason University has a long history of being involved in the local community. Our community gives back to us, and we give back to our community. This is one of many examples that speaks to this relationship. If you feel called to participate in this work, we are grateful and ask that you place your order by Saturday, October 31. Even though we won’t have campus drop-off locations this year because of health and safety concerns, you can ship directly via the Amazon wish list.

If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Katie Clare at

Katie Clare
Associate Director
Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

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