A Troy woman is collecting socks.
Black socks, white socks, blue socks, big socks, small socks, men's socks, women's socks, all new socks.
Carol Pigg is collecting them to send to troops on active duty in Afghanistan as part of a nonprofit organization's efforts to support all branches of the military. Molly's Adopt A Sailor group was started five years ago and Pigg was one of the first members, one of the first of a nationwide group of military mothers who started out by writing letters to men and women in boot camp who didn't get any mail from home.
The effort has grown beyond writing letters.
"When we moms started meeting each other online though a social network for military moms, we started talking and decided to do this," she said.
The group sends boxes every month to troops overseas and relies on donations, their own funds, and packing parties to get those boxes into the hands of deployed men and women. There is no paid staff and everyone chips in to buy supplies and fun things to help improve the morale of troops.
"People ask me how I can afford to ship out boxes every month," Pigg said. "My response is 'I can't afford not to support the troops.'"
The monthly boxes typically contain snack items, crackers, cookies, beef jerky, DVDs, candy, coffee, tea, and other items. Sometimes, a group asks for particular items, Pigg said, and the moms work to make it happen.
"Every month we adopt a different group from any branch of the military," Pigg said. "They go to Molly, and Molly comes to the moms."
David Nancy, a senior in business administration at the University of Illinois in Springfield, was looking for a civic project and approached a Navy recruiter in Collinsville for ideas. The recruiter suggested Molly's Adopt a Sailor nonprofit organization and that's where the sock drive idea was born, Pigg said.
"We need at least 1,000 pairs of socks," Pigg said. She explained that deployed troops send their laundry out for washing in Afghanistan and when it comes back, the socks are often gone. "The socks never get returned, so, they were constantly running out of socks and without a store nearby, they couldn't buy more. We also support MASH units in Afghanistan. When they come in, they often don't have any socks on. So, we send socks, shorts and T-shirts to those hospitals."
Pigg coordinates all the packing parties in the metro-east, the eastern side of Missouri and central Indiana.
The drive is seeking donations of new crew socks, in the package, in white, black, brown or green, in both adult women and men's sizes.
Sock donations can be dropped off at the following locations:
* U.S. Navy Recruiting Office at 1140 Collinsville Crossing Blvd. in Collinsville.
* Kelly Tracy Ad and Design at 101 E. Alton St. in Marine.
* Main Street Barber Shot at 106 N. Main in Troy.
* Troy VFW at 123 W. Market St. in Troy.
* Twilight Comics at 3760 Green Mount Crossing Drive in Shiloh.
"As long as they'll let us have a box, we'll keep collecting," Pigg said.
Offices, schools, churches, or civic organizations with a large donation can contact Pigg at 972-9131 to arrange pick up. Pigg can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about Molly's Adopt A Sailor nonprofit organization can be found at www.mollysadoptasailor.com.
Contact reporter Jennifer A. Schaaf at email@example.com or 618-239-2667.