Laurice Reynolds, a retired community economic development practitioner for the City of Trenton, always said that when things got tough, to let her work her magic. As December begins, the winter months buckle in and the cold chill starts, Reynolds seeks to keep the city’s homeless population warm this winter.
Reynolds partnered with Events by Elocon owner Nicole K. Nolan, raised $2,087 on GoFundMe, and gave a weeks’ worth of socks to 200 homeless individuals in Trenton. “I called Nicole Newman, and she put this together for me, and that is how it happened,” Reynold said.
Socks are essential pieces of clothing needed by homeless individuals, and they are the least donated. “Much like the 2007 recession, this pandemic has come with a great loss for so many,” said Nolan. “We as organizations and individuals have to pull our resources and efforts together to take care of our less fortunate neighbor. Purchasing a pair of socks is the least we can do to show that we care.”
On Tuesday, the event ran from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., right behind Trenton Rescue Mission of Trenton headquarters. Helping out with the event was the Damon House Inc., The Trenton Health Team, and Starbucks to hand out free coffee. Also, Mayor Reed Gusciora came to help out and thank the organizers and volunteers.
Valle Davis, a Recovery Coach Specialist and organizer with the Sock Drive, said that she was overwhelmed with joy by everyone who came out to help. “I’m so happy to be a blessing, to be here to support them, to let them know that they are not alone. They are very loved and wanted by our community,” Davis said. “This is just one way to show a community to support the homeless in Trenton. Though they could be homeless and struggling and having different battles [with] everyday life, they need to know that you know, you can recover, there is a tomorrow, there’s a brighter day, there’s light still shining, and we’re doing this for you.”
Although the focus of the event today was handing out socks, it featured a different theme of helping those who are recovering from and struggling with addiction get the resources they need. According to The Department of Human Services, about 1980 residents are currently struggling with addiction. A complete look at Mercer County can be found here. This has led foundations like Trenton Rescue Mission and The Damon House to step in and help by providing resources and places to foster a community. James Johnson, The Director of Program Service at Damon House, brought 11 of his clients to come and man the table handing out bags of socks.
“A lot of people don’t know that the recovery community is thriving and doing a lot of stuff out there. So part of recovery is changing. People, places and things. So when you’re in recovery, one of the things is giving back, service. So this is service work. We’re honored to donate our time and give back to the community,” Johnson said.
This is echoed by Niki Graham, Manager of Community Engagement at Trenton Rescue Mission. She said that they recently just opened a new drug treatment program within the organization’s emergency shelter. “So we can have up to 90 individual males that have come from drug court or have walked in for drug treatment,” Graham said. To learn more about these foundations visit https://rescuemissionoftrenton.org and https://www.damonhouse.org.
The speeches went on emphasizing that the community needs to help out during these winter months. “I’m 28 years clean,” Stephanie Register, Principal Planner within the City of Trenton and organizer with the event, said. During her sobriety, she was always told that to gain, you have to give back. “This is my way of returning what was given to me by my sobriety. And I do believe that we teach by example… I’m quite sure that there’s someone else who is going to say to themselves, if they could do it, I could do it too,” Register said. She added that they gave the rest to Trenton Rescue Mission at the end of the sock drive.
As for Reynolds’ magic, her smiles warmed the cold November day. “I’m really excited to know that I can say it’s done. I always used to say I had magic, and now I really do,” Reynolds said.