SILVER SPRING — Since the days when they were handed out by Jon Lovitz’s Harry Hanukkah character on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” pairs of socks have long been the most dreaded of holiday gifts. But a local pastor is collecting them on behalf of a group of people who are grateful to receive them: Montgomery County’s homeless population.
Converted Heart Christian Methodist Episcopal Church pastor Darryl A. Burton came to Washington, D.C. from Chattanooga in 1983 and earned his Masters of Divinity from the Wesley Theological Seminary in 2011. As pastor of the first CME church in the County, Burton has made homeless outreach a primary focus of his ministry since the church opened in 2015. These efforts led Burton to launch the Cold Feet Initiative, an effort to collect socks for donation to the homeless.
“People donated over 500 socks last year,” Burton said. “We’ve partnered this year with a group of about 30 churches in Philadelphia who six months ago sent us a huge box of socks that they collected.”
Last Saturday, as he often does, Burton braved the rain to distribute bags of socks, along with deli sandwiches and juice at Progress Place, a County-operated homeless assistance facility.
“It’s easy to forget what a blessing a good, clean pair of socks can be,” Burton said. “I’ve seen people, after receiving the socks, immediately rip off their old ones and put them on.”
“Darryl is a wonderful young man,” said Rocky Twyman, a local civil rights activist and founder of the Pray at the Pump Movement, who joined Burton in Silver Spring on Saturday. “He’s always been willing to help out others and the boy can sign and play basketball, too.”
Burton said the church is still welcoming donations of socks, money, and other goods. Anyone interested in contributing may visit the church’s website at www.convertedheartcme.com/donate.