It wasn’t by chance that Morrison’s Scranton region collected more than 6,300 pairs of socks in October for the homeless. As part of the Southern Division’s first-ever “Socktober” event, the management team’s creative ideas, team approach, and partnership with a local hospital made it a success.
“Socktober” – held from October 5-31 — was the brainchild of Division President Erin Meehan. She asked Morrison associates in the Southern Division to donate 25,000 pairs of new socks for the homeless; the division responded by collecting approximately 55,000 pairs of socks.
The all-women Scranton management team led by Dianna Amos is a textbook case of how a team can quickly develop a plan to meet the challenge.
“Once Erin asked for contributions, we pulled together several ideas that helped us generate thousands of pairs of socks,” said Amos, System Director of Food & Nutrition Services at the Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Ga.
A Team Effort
After a team brainstorming meeting, Amos’ team put its plan into action.
It started by taking $1,000 and buying socks at several stores. This money was already available after the team won the $500 prize for “Director’s Choice” during Foodservice Week, as well as another $500 for increasing retail sales. To buy as many socks as possible, Desiree Marshall, Director of Patient Dining, visited several stores, exhausting the sock inventory across four counties.
Next, Clinical Nutrition Manager Sue Brown led an effort to secure a donation of 600 pairs from Zkano Socks in Fort Payne, Alabama. Another member of the clinical team Caitlin Koch, and her husband, donated 360 pairs of socks through Koch Inc, their business in Cartersville, Georgia.
Even though the team set an original goal of 1,000 pairs of socks, these two large donations were a catalyst to raise the bar.
“We had a goal at our account to bring in 1,000 socks,” Dianna said. “But after getting so many donations so quickly, we said, ‘that was easy, let’s do 2,000’.”
While the management team’s outreach worked well, they had an equally ambitious effort to get the hospital nurses and visitors involved. A large clothes bin was placed at the entrance of the hospital’s café.
In addition, Retail Manager Amanda Franklin worked with Coca-Cola and Community Coffee, two café vendors, to raffle patio umbrellas and gift baskets to people who donated to the cause. The grand prize went to the hospital staff member who donated the most socks–free lunch for one month.
Individual food service associates made donations, too. Dianna’s system includes Polk Medical Center in Cedartown, Georgia, led by Associate Director Christy Hall. In spite of its small size, associates there collected approximately 400 pairs of socks. When it was all added up, 6,237 pairs of socks were donated.
Distribution in the Community
Getting the socks to the right people was the next objective. To do that, Desiree Marshall and the hospital’s marketing department decided to donate the socks to the Rome-Floyd County Community Kitchen. This organization feeds the hungry, and approximately 5,500 pairs of socks were distributed there in early December.
Cynita Boykin, Office Manager, organized the distribution of the remaining several hundred pairs of children’s socks left to the county’s Department of Family & Children’s Services.
In addition to aiding the homeless, “Socktober” provided Dianna and her team the opportunity to work with the hospital to support the local community.
“We always want to show our client that we want to be their partners in Rome and Floyd County,” she says. “With COVID-19 and all of its challenges, it was a perfect way to show we can be there for them and the community during this time of need.”
Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus, the sock drive showed how a management team can bond together to make a difference.
“What can be more rewarding than to give to those in need?” Dianna says. “The donations from the nursing staff, management team, associates, and others at our hospitals show how much we want to help those in need.”