(Left to right) Pastor Kevin Bates sits in a massive pile of socks with two congregant members, Ingrid Nordvedt and Audrey Nordvedt. Photo by Elsie Simon
(Left to right) Pastor Kevin Bates sits in a massive pile of socks with two congregant members, Ingrid Nordvedt and Audrey Nordvedt. Photo by Elsie Simon

The Magnolia Lutheran Church (2414 31st Ave. W.) met its goal for collecting 10,000 socks for people in need around Seattle. The socks will be distributed to Compass Housing Alliance’s Hygiene Center (77 S. Washington St.) over the next few months.

The church met its goal the week before but was still collecting socks until March 19.

On Sunday, March 23, the socks were blessed for the people who will receive them.

In total, the church collected about 10,200 pairs of socks, Pastor Kevin Bates estimated.

After the Queen Anne & Magnolia News first reported on the story in the Jan. 29 issue, people from the community brought bags of socks, and a local company offered a large sock donation.

Compass Housing is “tickled,” by the huge donation, Bates said. He received a card from the nonprofit that explained that last year, there was a time when the agency had run out of socks, but “thanks to Magnolia Lutheran, we have many socks to provide” now.

“I am really proud of who we are as a community,” Bates said of his congregation, “where we have been able to see our neighbors and respond with contagious generosity.”

When the congregation initially set the goal to collect and donate 10,000 socks, Bates assumed it would take them at least a year or longer. He even laughed when someone suggested setting a deadline of the first day of spring. But the community was motivated by its neighbors, he said.

“We’ve been able to see the hugeness of a problem in a very particular, concrete way,” he said. “Everybody who receives a pair of socks has a name and a story.”

And when they reached their goal, “it wasn’t a fist-bumping, high-fiving, victory lap,” Bates said. The congregation instead sang, “Doxology: Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow,” the song the gardener sings when he sees the children playing in “The Secret Garden.”

This wasn’t just about social justice for the church, Bates said; it was also an act of faith.

The fundraiser was part of a larger, 12-point mission strategy, which still has 11 goals to fulfill, Bates said. Now, they’re focusing on hospitality, infrastructure and growing in faith. That doesn’t mean they’ll stop focusing on neighbors in need, though.

“The fact that you can set an unfathomable goal and have it happen sooner than anyone expected,” he said, “it just makes me pleasantly stunned and makes me wonder what God will be up to next.”

To comment on this story, write to QAMagNews@nwlink.com.