Soldiers in Ukraine posing with the socks and alcohol stoves they’ve received from Socks 4 Ukraine. Alan writes, “I wish I could share the smiling faces from the originals, but it is considered best practice to blur out faces and other identifying insignia. They express sincere gratitude for our support.”

North Grenville residents can always be counted on not just to give back, but to give first. An initiative called Socks 4 Ukraine has grown significantly in popularity locally. Spearheaded by Alan McKay, the initiative is about providing good quality socks to soldiers on the front lines in Ukraine. Socks were chosen as the donation item of choice because Alan has a cousin in Ukraine who told him that socks would make a significant positive impact in the war-torn country. 

“What I’ve experienced is that the idea resonates really well with Canadians and is easy for Canadians to get behind,” Alan added. “Socks wear out quickly on the front lines, and without a fresh supply, things like trenchfoot are a tragic reality for soldiers.”

Socks 4 Ukraine is relatively new, having been started about 3-4 months ago. “I was looking for something concrete I could do to help the war effort in Ukraine,” said Alan. “After some discussions with my cousin there, I decided to send cheap alcohol stoves to help keep soldiers warm. Those went over really well, but the feedback was that fuel was really difficult to obtain there. After more discussions with my cousin, we decided upon good quality socks.”

Alan started Socks 4 Ukraine, but wants to get as many people as possible organizing similar aid for Ukraine. He is emphasizing that such initiatives are great for church groups, community groups, a group of friends, or other organizations to take on. 

“Each person has their own reasons for supporting this effort. For me, it is because my grandfather is from Ukraine and I have many cousins there – some even fighting on the front lines,” Alan shared. “One of my cousins died a few weeks ago in Bahkmut, which is a city that sadly many people here are now familiar with. But most people simply know that Ukraine is on the front lines defending the rules-based global order that we all rely on. Ukraine wants to join the democratic world, and its citizens are united behind this desire. If Ukraine falls, Europe is in a lot of trouble. And Western governments know this.  And fortunately our citizens know this as well.”

There is much to know when it comes to sending socks to Ukraine. The material from which the socks are made is very important. Alan urges everyone to remember that “cotton is rotten” because it does not dry easily. Socks made from a wool and nylon blend is best. For anyone looking to donate to the cause or send their own sock donation overseas, Alan recommends the Costco Kirkland Men’s 4-pack. More information on how to get started with Socks 4 Ukraine, or even how to start your own initiative, can be found in a concise document prepared by Alan. To receive a copy, or to make a donation or ask a question, Alan can be reached at [email protected]


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