RMR collects more than 8,000 pairs of socks to help Salt Lake’s homeless population
By Jim Burton
Rocky Mountain Raceways
WEST VALLEY CITY — As he sat at his gate inside the Salt Lake International Airport in early November, awaiting a flight to Pomona, Calif. and the Auto Club NHRA finals, Rocky Mountain Raceways’ General Manager Mike Eames got hit with a bit of inspiration.
A morning news show was playing on a nearby television and the topic of conversation was winter weather and how it effects the homeless population.
Eames said he heard the show’s hosts mention the usual wintertime necessities: coats, shoes, hats, blankets, etc.
And then he heard something that caught his attention.
“I heard someone say something about socks and how that’s a big need this time of year,” Eames said. “It immediately got me thinking about what Rocky Mountain Raceways could do to help.”
Those who know him know Eames’ mind often races faster than a top fuel dragster, and on this particular occasion he couldn’t stop thinking about those socks and what RMR could do to help people in need.
He quickly came across an idea whereby RMR could collect new packages of socks for men, women and children. All it would take would be to trade socks for tickets to 2016 events.
“I started thinking about what we could call it,” Eames said as he excitedly told the story. “I kept thinking, ‘Socks, socks, socks … how do you link socks to racing?’ I was literally standing in line, waiting to get on an airplane, and then it hit me: ‘Speed For Socks!’”
Eames fired off an email to the staff at RMR and before his plane touched down in California, the “Speed For Socks” campaign was off and running.
The initial goal was to collect 1,000 pairs of socks and distribute them at some of the shelters in the Salt Lake City area. That initial goal was met just after Thanksgiving and the total just kept climbing and climbing as RMR’s fans, its racers and their extended friends and families continued to pitch in, day after day.
Receptionist Sherie Echols collected the socks, handed out the free tickets and dutifully kept track of the running total. After five weeks a total of 8,085 pairs of socks had been collected and well over 4,000 tickets were given out.
In keeping with the plan, the socks were stored in a trailer in RMR’s conference center. They were sorted, boxed up and prepared for distribution on
Dec. 21, with stops planned for The Christmas Box House, Homeless Youth Resource Center and The Road Home.
Each stop along the route, grateful people expressed heartfelt thanks for the contributions and assured RMR staff members the socks would most definitely be used by those in need.
Lots of season’s greetings were exchanged.
“We are thrilled to play a small part in the community that will hopefully make a big difference,” Eames said.