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June 1, 2020

Bar President John Stewart relishes padding around in a pair of flip flops. It is also not unknown for him to traipse about in loafers with unsheathed feet. A regular joke at Board of Governor’s meetings is presenting Stewart with socks appropriate for the occasion or locale.

The Annual Convention Committee decided that was the perfect impetus for a charitable event for this year’s Bar convention — and in keeping with it being the Bar’s first online convention the committee has made the drive something that can be done virtually.

Hence the “Helping Get Florida Back on Its Feet” sock challenge. The idea is to spur the donation of socks to homeless and veterans’ help centers across Florida. Donors can ship socks directly to the agencies, one of which is in the jurisdiction of each of the state’s five district courts of appeal, or buy socks online and have them delivered. The committee has set up an Amazon shopping list page where socks can be ordered and the shipping address supplied for one of the five centers.

Vivian Hodz“We were going to do a sock drive all along at the Annual Convention, we’ve just shifted it online,” said Annual Convention Committee Chair Vivian Hodz.

And despite the playful aspect of the effort, Committee Vice Chair Robin Bresky, who also serves on the Bar Board of Governors, said there’s a serious side. In talking with various programs that help the needy, it turns out there aren’t enough socks.

“We talked at the meeting specifically about children’s charities and indigent and homeless need, and that’s a big need,” she said. “We thought it would serve a need as well as be something that President Stewart would appreciate.”

“Basically, it’s to give back and we’re trying to make it easy for Bar members who would like to make a donation of socks to do so,” Hodz said. “We have set up an Amazon link where people can go on directly and choose the socks they want to donate….

“Everyone knows that President Stewart is a sock guy and we couldn’t have an Annual Convention, virtual or otherwise, not recognize in some way the sock affinity for our outgoing president.”

The recipients for the Sock Challenge are:

• In the First DCA, the Kearney Center, 2650 Municipal Way, Tallahassee 32304, phone (850) 792-9000. The center provides “a path to self-sufficiency to those in poverty.”

• In the Second DCA, New Life Church Tampa, attn. Gary Cloyd, administrator, 8216 N. 13th St., Tampa 33604, phone (813) 449-0536. The church assists New Beginnings of Tampa, a men’s homeless shelter.

• In the Third DCA, the Miami VA Medical Center, attn.: Mernie Williams, chief of voluntary services, 1201 NW 16th St., Miami 33125, phone (305) 575-3140. The center helps homeless veterans in Miami.

• In the Fourth DCA, Vero Beach: The Source, 1015 Commerce Ave., Vero Beach 32960, phone (772) 564-0202. The program assists with poor and homeless with meals, showers, laundry, mail, art therapy, Bible study and other resources.

• In the Fifth DCA, Halifax Urban Ministries, 1340 Wright St., Daytona Beach, 32117, phone (386) 317-5880. The agency assists the homeless in Volusia and Flagler counties.

The online sox retailer, Odd Sox, will be matching donations up to 100 pairs.