Socks for prisoners provide more than warm feet

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Once again, the people of the Diocese of Nashville are being asked to donate pairs of socks that will be distributed to prisoners at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville as Christmas gifts.

Deacon James Booth, the director of prison ministry for the diocese, would like the churches around the diocese to have their parishioners drop off pairs of new, white crew socks, men’s size 9-10. “I will happily, at their convenience, come around and pick up what was donated,” Deacon Booth said. 

Roughly 850 pairs of socks are needed. “In the past we’ve exceeded that number by a considerable margin,” Deacon Booth said. “Last year we were able to give every inmate two or three pairs.”

Inmates at Riverbend need good socks to cushion their feet and keep them warm while working their prison jobs, Deacon Booth explained. The donated socks are appreciated by the prisoners because they are typically better quality than the state issued socks, he added.

“I’ve been told by prisoners that of all the things in the gift bags they’re given, socks are the one thing they would never trade away,” Deacon Booth said. “I was worried that they might think this is a ho hum gift … but it’s actually the reverse.”

But the value of the Christmas gift socks goes beyond keeping feet warm, Deacon Booth said. “Like all gift giving, it’s an expression of friendship,” he said. The value of the gift “usually goes beyond practicality. It’s more about the recognition of the other person.”

The deadline for Deacon Booth to pick up donated socks is Nov. 9. For more information or to arrange the pickup of donated socks, email Deacon Booth at

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