1. Community News

With something as simple as socks, Plant City ministry brings smiles to those in need

A year ago, members of the First Baptist Church of Durant in Plant City gathered to brainstorm ideas to help the community.

They wanted to do something different. Kevin Wynne, senior pastor at the church, mentioned socks.

In its first year, the resulting Happy Souls Sock Ministry distributed more than 5,000 pairs of socks to Hillsborough County Elementary School students and others in need.

"We are loving on people through a simple act," said organizer Summer Rain, children's teacher at First Baptist. "Some people ask if there is really a need for this ministry and the answer is it depends who you ask. Many people are so grateful for them."

Happy Souls works alongside the Plant City Junior Women's Club, which donates new shoes to students each school year.

Happy Souls provides each participating student with six pairs of fun, colored or youth-themed socks. Any and all socks are welcome as donations, Rain said.

The ministry also passes out socks in bags for the homeless and wherever the group can help.

"My family and I went to Daytona on vacation and there were so many people living on the beaches and the streets," Rain said. "We passed out socks and they were very appreciative."

The money to purchase the socks comes from donations within and outside church walls. On Sunday mornings, children collect change in metal buckets to benefit Happy Souls. The youngest volunteer is 3.

Rain said Happy Souls plans to expand to middle and high schools next year. The group also plans to contribute to backpacks distributed annually by Christian radio station The Joy FM.

"A guidance counselor at one of the schools we give to said a girl told her she was not getting made fun of anymore because she didn't have to wear old socks and her feet didn't smell," Rain said. "We are showing them love and hopefully they will grow up to give love to others."

For more information or to donate, visit or call (813) 737-2556.


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