Bryanna Prince, Events and Volunteer Coordinator for the Buffalo area Salvation Army, right, accepted this year’s sock donation at the Feb. 22 meeting of the Rotary Club of Hamburg at Joe’s Diner. Pictured with her are from left: Rotarians Jeff Kusche, President Michele Hanley, Patricia Castiglia and Jill Martucci, chair of the Sock Distribution Committee. 

The Rotary Club of Hamburg has distributed100 pairs of winter quality socks to the homeless in Buffalo annually since 2016. The project began in answer to a challenge from Rotary International to engage that year in activities designed for the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation. The club membership felt that because of Western New York’s cold winters and increased population of homeless people that the distribution of warm socks would be meaningful while filling an urgent need.
Now in the sixth year of the distribution, the Club remains as committed to the project as when it was launched. For the first two years, Rotarians Jeff Kusche and Pat Castiglia organized and arranged the distribution of the socks that Jeff has been able to obtain through a contact in a North Carolina where the socks are made. When Jill Martucci joined the Committee three years ago, she initiated a partnership with the Salvation Army in Buffalo to assist in directing the giveaway to the area of greatest need. This has proven to be an effective means of distribution and the club is considering expanding the sock donations to include other items. 
“The Rotary Club of Hamburg has always been involved in community projects, but the Foundation Centennial  call for projects inspired us to look more intensely at those suffering in our cold winters” said Castiglia. “We determined that this would not be a one-time only effort.”