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 www.kwynneministries.com or call (813) 737-2556.
United Methodist Church of Sun City Center, 1201 W Del Webb Blvd., will present Tampa jazz artist Stacey Kinights in concert at 7 p.m. Oct. 19. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. Also, the Jack Edison Jazz Band will perform at 7 p.m. Oct. 26. A $10 donation is also requested. For more information on these and other events, visit sccumc.com.
Brandon Christian Church, 910 Bryan Road, is seeking vendors for its 11th Annual Craft Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 1. Handmade items only. Inside and outside tables available. Contact Betty at email@example.com or call (813) 404-9393.
Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 304 Druid Hills Road, Temple Terrace, will host its 18th Annual Oktoberfest 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 27. For more information or to reserve a vendor table, visit corlutheran.org or call (813) 988-4025.
New Tampa Women's Prayer Connection will meet 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday (Oct. 9) at Bob Evans, 16314 North Dale Mabry, Tampa. For more information call (813) 857-8283.
New Tampa Women's Connection will host its fall luncheon 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 16 at Tampa Palms Golf and Country Club, 5811 Tampa Palms Blvd. Mainstream Boutique will present a Fall Fashion Show and have items available for sale. Speaker Carol Foster will share her story "Connecting the Dots." Cost is $20 at the door but reservations are required by Oct. 11. For more information and to register, email firstname.lastname@example.org