SOCKS FOR VETS
Elks Club members gathered with staff from Shoe Sensations in Owatonna last week to celebrate a successful collection for the store’s annual sock drive.
-Julie Summe, Owatonna Elks
When Shoe Sensation opened its doors in Owatonna last year, store manager Kaleigh Carlson went looking for a local group interested in partnering with the company’s annual sock collection.
She had almost given up when Julie Brueggemeier walked through the door.
“I had heard they were doing a sock promotion, so I went in and spoke to Kelly and asked what they were going to do with the socks,” Bruggemeier said.
As a member of the Owatonna Elks, she knew the club could put them to good use. The group has done collections at a “sock run” during the Super Bowl and a “sock hop” dance.
Carlson said the plan was to distribute socks to veterans throughout Steele County. The 2,178 pairs collected were split between the Elks and Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association.
The Elks delivered some to the VFW in Owatonna, to Rachel’s Light women’s shelter, Hospitality House men’s shelter, and to the high school, for students in need.
Carlson and Brueggemeier have also talked about collaborating on other projects through the year.
“They also have opportunities to help kids in need, and that’s close to (Elks member) Julie (Summe) and my heart,” Brueggemeier said.
Summe, who is working on a project for homeless teens, said people may not understand just how much the Elks club does in the community.
“A lot of people look at this club as being just a bar, and it’s not,” she said. “Throughout the U.S., clubs do a lot of different things for their communities.”
That includes fundraising and programs that benefit veterans and especially kids–the annual Hoop Shoot, youth camps, hosting the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party, and more.
“We are a community working for the community,” Summe added.
That works well for Carlson, who is originally from Geneva.
“We definitely want the best for the community,” she said. “They’re the reason we’re here.”