It’s not Christmas yet, but now is the time to start thinking about Santa Socks. Veterans and veteran supporters started the Santa Socks program in 2008. It is all about bringing cheer and honor to veterans of all ages in Missoula and Ravalli County. Susan “Santa Baby” Reneau explains.

“We put candy kisses, little plastic soldiers, hot wheels, lotions, soaps and other things in the socks,” Reneau said. “Then we put a love note inside. Russell Elementary and Washington Middle School students started making Christmas Cards. They not only get the Santa Sock, but they get these magnificent cards from little kids.”

According to Reneau, Walmart just donated a substantial community grant and that money will be used to purchase several Santa Sock items. Between mid-December and mid-January, “magical elves” personally deliver Santa Socks to veterans at nursing homes, homeless shelters and many other places.

“Our Santa Socks have been delivered under the Reserve Street bridge because we know some veterans are living there,” Reneau said. “We also make sure Santa Socks go to private homes and business owners. We will spontaneously deliver a Santa Sock to them and many times they have burst into tears. They are so overwhelmed with gratitude that somebody has thought of them.”

The “magical elves” are members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, their auxiliaries, Daughters of the American Revolution, Martha’s Ministries, Wraps for Vets, Girl and Boy Scouts, Missoula Civil Air Patrol, ROTC members from the University of Montana, and anyone wishing to help deliver Santa Socks.  They spend time shaking veterans’ hands and talking to them about their military experiences.

Last year, they delivered 767 Santa Socks to local veterans. Reneau says they really need people to donate crew socks so they can hand out over 1,000 this year.

“That is the number one most expensive part of this project,” Reneau said. “We will, on any given year, spend in excess of $600 of socks. You can go to your local store and get a bag of crew socks for anywhere from $6 to $10 and you can get upwards of 10 to 12 pairs of socks.”

Cash donations are also appreciated and need to be made out to the VFW Post 209 Auxiliary. All donations must be received by December 1. If you would like to donate, visit our office at 3250 South Reserve Street.

Cash donations in check form can also be sent to VFW Post 209 Auxiliary, Attention Santa Socks, 245 W. Main Street, Missoula, MT 59802.

Delivery volunteers are ALWAYS needed.  If you can donate time to do this, please contact the North Pole at 719-661-4037 or email Santa Baby at bluemountain@montana.com.