Colburn Shoe Store sock drive gets Thanksgiving help from Belfast community

Last year they collected 6,000 socks, and this year they want to beat that.
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 2:51 PM EST
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BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - If you’ve walked past Colburn Shoe Store in Belfast you might have noticed a large pile of socks collecting in the window.

It’s all part of their sock drive with United Way of Eastern Maine

“Socks are the number one thing asked for in homeless shelters by organizations that help people less fortunate so we just wanted to do our part and provide as many socks as we could,” said Colby Horne, owner of Colburn Shoe Store. “We just take it for granted that we go into our closet and we have a fresh clean pair of socks, it’s really opened a lot of people’s eyes.”

Horne says they collected 6,000 socks last year, and this year they want to beat that.

“So far it looks like we’ll be able to do that. I’d say we have about 3,000 now, the window is about half as full as it was last year, so we’re off to a good start,” Horne said.

Rollie’s Bar and Grill down the street wanted to help them reach that goal.

They handed out free Thanksgiving dinners Thursday morning and took donations for the sock drive.

“We wanted to help Colby, he helps us out a lot and his goal was to fill the window at his shoe store so if we could take donations and turn them into socks for people in the community, that’s what we wanted to do,” said Chad Otis, the brother of the owner of Rollie’s.

Colburn Shoe Store is the oldest shoe store in the country.

Horne’s family has owned the store for 99 years and he’s the fifth generation to take over.

“I’m just so fortunate that the family before me basically handed me the keys to a well fired machine. All I did was take the keys and run. Their hard work, I’m so thankful for that, that I was able to follow in their footsteps,” Horne said.

Horne and Otis say efforts like this are what the Belfast community is all about.

“Belfast is great. It’s the biggest little city in Maine is what they like to say, you know the community gives to us and we like to give back to them,” Otis said.

The sock drive runs until December 10th.

You can donate cash or send socks directly to the store at 79 Main Street in Belfast.

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