Home / State Information / Iowa / Stories / 2023-11-29
HUD Iowa field office teams up with Central Iowa Federal Executive Council for annual sock drive to help those experiencing homelessness
[(L-R) Melissa O’Neil, Chief Executive Officer, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, and Julie Sleeper, Des Moines Senior  Management Analyst]
(L-R) Melissa O’Neil, Chief Executive Officer, Central Iowa Shelter & Services, and Julie Sleeper, Des Moines Senior Management Analyst.

The HUD Iowa Field Office and the Federal Executive Council of Central Iowa (FEC) have a long-standing tradition of sponsoring an annual sock drive at the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines, Iowa. The sock drive is a continuation of an initiative started in 2013 to assist with homeless outreach and in the spirit of giving throughout the year.

Socks are an afterthought for many American households. For some people, socks are maybe more of an annoyance at the holiday gift-giving time than a essential part of one’s wish list. But each year, unsheltered persons walk mile after mile in search of shelter and safety. In that process, shoes are worn thin, and socks are laid bare – exposing feet to the elements and disease. Through donations from generous federal building occupants 818 pairs of socks were donated this year. Since the inception of this community initiative, over 7,500 pairs of socks have been donated. HUD Office of Field Policy and Management (FPM) staff spearheaded the 2023 effort by organizing the collection of boxes, sending reminders to federal building occupants, counting the socks, and delivering them to the shelter. The socks were presented to Melissa O’Neil, Chief Executive Officer of Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS).

Central Iowa Shelter & Services is Iowa’s largest homeless shelter with 231 beds consisting of 150 emergency shelter beds, 19 transitional housing rooms for Veterans, and 62 Section 8 Project-Based Voucher efficiency apartments. CISS is committed to providing low-barrier shelter, meals, and support services, at no cost, to adults experiencing homelessness, while also facilitating their move towards self-sufficiency. Initially created to provide emergency shelter for men and women experiencing homelessness, CISS has expanded its services to include an on-site health clinic, food pantry, clothing closet, classrooms to provide life skills education, and career preparation programs.

Some of the programs include janitorial skills training, culinary arts, agriculture and sustainability farming. To learn more about CISS, please visit: https://centraliowashelter.org/