PERRYSBURG – The story of third-grader Hannah Turner proves that small things, even a pair of socks, can
make a difference in someone else’s life.
Her story – which inspired the creation of Hannah’s Socks (www.hannahssoscks.org), a charity that
collects and donates socks and undergarments for distribution to the homeless and to victims of domestic
violence – began at Toledo’s Cherry Street Mission on a cold Thanksgiving morning in 2004, where the
then-4-year-old girl was helping her mother serve dinner to disadvantaged guests.
At some point during that bustling meal, Hannah had become fixated on a man whose battered shoes revealed
a set of bare toes. She worried about his warmth. And, despite her mother’s reassurances, young Hannah
remained unsatisfied with the man’s situation.
It was then that she began peeling offer her sneakers and tiny pink socks.
"I saw this man who had no socks," said Hannah, now 8. "He had torn-up shoes, and I said,
‘Mommy, he can have my socks.’"
The next morning, Doris Turner helped her daughter purchase a hundred pairs of socks and took them to the
shelter. A year later, Hannah asked her mother if she thought the same man had found socks by then – and
so the Turners delivered another load of socks to the mission.
Through those deliveries, the Turners learned about the substantial need for socks and undergarments at
area shelters and decided to create a non-profit charity to organize more collection efforts. Formed in
2007, the charity is led by the Turner family and includes a board and a junior board of directors who
coordinate collections and donations in the Toledo and Cincinnati areas. Donations come predominantly
from Northwest Ohio, although the charity has accepted clothing from as far away as Michigan and even
To date, Hannah’s Socks has given more than 110,000 pairs of socks along with other clothing essentials
to local shelters.
"Their clients now do not have to worry about purchasing those items for their children to begin
school, and they can focus on putting that money toward something else," Doris said. "So it’s
definitely made an impact."
The Turners’ charity regularly donates to several area homeless and domestic violence shelters, such as
the Cocoon Shelter in Bowling Green, the Findlay Hope House, as well as Cherry Street Mission and the
Beach House in Toledo. Additionally, Hannah’s Socks works with local schools to organize collection and
donation campaigns. Hannah’s classes at Toth Elementary in Perrysburg, of course, have donated to the
charity every year.
This year alone, the group has counted more than 40,000 pairs of socks toward its 60,000-pair goal. The
socks and undergarments are collected through drop boxes at churches, businesses and homes in the
community. Many community groups have also begun sock drives to assist collection efforts. Doris manages
the charity operations from her home, where the family built an office with donations from Paul Davis
Restoration and Modeling.
Hannah remains the most involved in the charity, but the Turners include all of their children in
counting and distributing donations. All eight children living at home help sort the socks in the living
Doris and her husband Vic Turner say they took their children to local shelters to help them understand
at a young age that some people enjoyed less privilege than others and that people with more to give can
help those who have less.
"We really shared the same view of parenting, which is that kids have to be taught to care about
other people," Vic said. "We’re all selfish, and we all start that way very early in life. But
we wanted out kids to understand the importance of commitment, not just to your own desires but helping
others along the way."
Hannah stays busy with donations and counting and appearances at public events. Her story has been
featured in a variety of local media, in People Magazine as well as on the Oprah Winfrey Show. On Aug.
30, she will throw the first pitch at a Toledo Mud Hens game.
The experience has helped Hannah cultivate a remarkable empathy for others at young age, Doris said.
Hannah constantly asks what else the family can do.
"She was always a child that noticed things, and I think it’s just made her more aware," she
Doris said her family is now addicted to the cause.
"We’ll never stop," she said.
More information about donating to Hannah’s Socks can be found on the Web site or by contacting the
Turners at 419-931-4757. The organization is encouraging more donations of men’s socks.
Socks often most needed items that
can be donated
PERRYSBURG – Socks are some of the most overlooked yet most sorely needed items that can be donated to
the disadvantaged, according to advocates.
Doris Turner, whose family created Hannah’s Socks, said her organization learned early on that shelters
rarely receive socks and undergarments. At the same time, those items are crucial to the well-being of
individuals with no resources who rely on their feet most of the day. She said a lack of suitable
footwear can jeopardize the health of people with diabetes or of individuals who are simply at-risk in
Shoes and socks are some of the first items to become damaged when people fall upon hard times, according
to Michelle Clossic, executive director for the Cocoon Shelter. She said most shelters depend on
initiatives such as Hannah’s Socks to help individuals in those circumstances feel safe and comfortable.
"It’s such a great example of how individuals in the community can really step up and make a
meaningful difference, and that’s true for an agency like ours," Clossic said of the charity’s
donations. "We couldn’t do our work without that kind of support."
Amy Ambrose, communications director at Cherry Street Mission, said people without reliable footwear can
develop blisters due to the stress of daily travel.
"We don’t have enough money to provide bus tokens for all of our guests, so that means that they
walk," Ambrose said. "They walk to job interviews, they walk to medical appointments, they
walk to everywhere – just because that’s the only transportation they have."
Joel Brown, a guest of the Cherry Street Mission, was down to just three pairs of socks when Hannah’s
Socks arrived at the shelter last Christmas. Brown said foot-care remains especially important for
people like him who spend most of the day on their feet.
"Socks wear out fast, and you have to have those things. You know, people are used to having
everything they need. That way, they just don’t realize the good that charity like that does in helping
Lily’s in Levis Commons seeks
donations for kids
PERRYSBURG – Lily’s, in The Town Center at Levis Commons, is hosting Christmas in July to wrap up its
month-long summer sock-drop for Hannah’s Socks.
The newest Levis retailer, located at 2110 Levis Commons Blvd., will welcome donations from children – of
socks and clothing essentials – this Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon in exchange for a visit with Santa
Claus. Levis hopes to reach its goal of 500 socks before the donation drive concludes at the beginning
of August. The clothing items, collected for the charity Hannah’s Socks, will be donated to local
homeless and domestic violence shelters.
Other activities at the event include holiday music, arts and crafts, snacks and a free car seat check by
My Urban Toddler.
Levis additionally plans to give away a Britax car seat, worth an estimated $375, at the event.