The buzz over socks just keeps on building! Nationally, #Socktober founder Kid President has teamed with Grover on his campaign to bring socks to the homeless (and who wouldn’t want the power of Sesame Street backing their cause?)

Kid President and Grover

#Socktober founder Kid President with Grover

Locally, our efforts garnered the attention of two TV stations: WCYB-TV 5:30 News (story transcript here) and WJHL-TV’s DayTime Tri-Cities.  Many thanks to Ron Scalf of Out ‘N About Magazine for helping us spread the word in print! More and more people and businesses are jumping in to help us bring socks to the homeless. Once we gather all of the socks we will donate them to United Way of Washington County, TN so that they can give them to their agencies who work directly with the homeless in our community.

WCYB-TV videographer Tim Culbertson and Mary Ellen MIller of MarketingMel show off some of the #Socktober sock donations.

WCYB-TV videographer Tim Culbertson and Mary Ellen MIller of MarketingMel show off some of the #Socktober sock donations.

Bonnie White, Johnson City Schools Homeless coordinator told us that,”These socks are so appreciated. Many of these students go to school with blisters on their feet because their shoes are too large or too small and they are wearing them with no socks.  We really appreciate and will use these new socks.”

And who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Chick-Fil-A Crossings is now on board with this great offer: Mondays in October drop off three new pair of socks and get a coupon for a free Grilled Chick-fil-A Sandwich. 

In addition to MarketingMel, the following businesses are sponsors for the second year in a row: Appearances Hair Salon, Spine & Sports Chiropractic and Summit Leadership Foundation. This year the Johnson City Morning Rotary also joined as a lead sponsor.

Here are the drop off locations with links to each. We’ve expanded with drop off sites adding locations in both Kingsport and Bristol this year. Let’s hope we get LOTS of socks! Last year we got over 500 pair and this year our goal is more than 750 new pair of socks. Remember, we have over 700 homeless students in the Johnson City school system alone and they’ve got family members, so we need all sizes, all colors, all kinds of new socks. Thank you!

Appearances Hair Salon

Cumberland Marketing

Exalt Academy of Cosmetology

First Tennessee Bank– Crossings, Peoples and North Roan Street locations

Johnson City Morning Rotary at Johnson City Country Club

Spine & Sports Chiropractic

Summit Leadership Foundation

Tri-City Community Bank

Princeton Arts Center

Robinson Animal Hospital

Chick-fil-A, Crossings 

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With Amy Lynn talking Personal Branding on DayTime Tri-Ciites

With Amy Lynn talking Personal Branding on the set of WJHL-TV’s DayTime Tri-Ciites

When’s the last time you had a new professional photograph made? For me it had been a few years. I’m now about 20 pounds lighter and, dare we say, a couple years older than the last time my photograph was made. (I love to joke that the older I get the blonder I get!) Friends who attended the National Association of Realtors Conference in California last fall told me they were encouraged to get a new photo made every two years and that’s good advice for people in the public eye. With that in mind I went on DayTime Tri-Cities to speak with host Amy Lynn about the importance of a good head shot in building your personal brand and I even compared it to that “gray silhouette” that we’ve all seen on LinkedIn. After all, your face is the first thing people see on so many social media channels. With a majority of American saying they’re planning to look for new jobs this year, a good, true likeness of yourself is important (not a selfie!) I also talked about the new issue of Out ‘N About Magazine, for which I write a monthly column. Let me know your thoughts on this segment. (Just click on the DayTime link above to view after a brief ad.) I’d love to hear about your experiences with professional photographs in building your personal brand. (Shout out her to photographer Tina Wilson who once again took my new photo!)  I look forward to hearing from you.

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The community came together to give socks to the homeless.

The community came together to give socks to the homeless.

It’s a bitter cold night and my feet are propped up by the fire as I write this. A snowstorm is heading our way. I’ve often heard it’s the little things that count in life and tonight I won’t take my socks for granted. Let me share why.

While many of us may have a stereotype of a homeless person as an unshaven man on a park bench, every preconceived idea I had was shattered when I heard a woman and her young daughter speak at our United Way report luncheon last week. She had lost her job, fallen on hard times and, together with her young daughter, was the beneficiary of a United Way agency that serves the homeless. Suddenly I was looking at the face of homelessness: a working mom, not that unlike me. Tears welled in my eyes as I knew what our team along with several friends and clients was doing: seeking 500 brand new pairs of socks to give to United Way to distribute to their agencies that serve the homeless.

About a month ago I saw nine-year-old YouTube sensation Kid President making an impassioned plea for local communities to gather up new socks for the homeless in his #Socktober campaign. I was inspired. Why not do that here in our town? I interviewed our schools’ homeless coordinator and found out that we have over 700 homeless students in our school system. Our team set a goal of 500 brand new pairs of socks by Thanksgiving. We jokingly called it “Toe-vember.” Then we asked friends and clients to help us.

A huge thanks to Spine & Sports Chiro, Appearances Hair Salon and Summit Leadership Foundation which served as drop off sites for the new socks. Thanks to our friends in the media:  Steve Hawkins at WFHG, Amy Lynn at DayTime Tri-Cities and Ron Scalf at Out ‘N About magazine who let us share our story through the media.We took to social media channels too, tweeting, Facebooking and instagramming our donated socks.  The Tri-Cities Women’s Council of Realtors and the ETSU Public Relations Student Society all pitched in socks as did friends from my church group and some of my other clients. Today we gave United Way’s executive director Lester Lattany more than 500 pairs of new socks.

It’s bitter cold tonight but thanks to our community’s generosity over 500 homeless people will now have warm feet. At this time of thanksgiving I am grateful for wonderful, generous friends with big, giving hearts- and of course, for socks. (Note: here is link to Johnson City Press coverage of our sock drive.)


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