Kokomo manufacturer donates 3,755 pairs of socks to local charities | features

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Employees at BorgWarner’s manufacturing facility will soon donate more than 3,000 pairs of socks to charities in Howard County.

Debbie Overton, BorgWarner’s human resources generalist, said manufacturing workers often work six to seven days at the factory. While the company wanted to do something for the community, it didn’t want to ask employees to donate extra time away from work.

Instead, the company chose an activity that could be done at the workplace.

Overton explained that after consulting with the Kokomo rescue mission, the BorgWarner Drive Committee, which organized the charity drive, preferred socks over other items. The mission said it frequently needs socks, and the propulsion committee agreed it would be an inexpensive collectible that would be easy to track. The BorgWarner Drive Committee is still deciding which organizations the socks will go to.

As of April 1, the committee expected to collect just 1,000 pairs. This goal was achieved in five days.

To up the ante, the company upped the target to 3,000. Volunteer donations exceeded the second goal, reaching 3,755 couples by the end of the month.

Employees who divided the factory employees into 12 teams depending on the place of work. Each of the teams competed against each other to see which part of the factory could bring in the most socks.

Splitting employees into teams added a healthy dose of gossip and friendly competition, Overton said.

Throughout the competition, a sock-shaped chart in the factory break room recorded team rankings and the number of socks collected.

By the end of the month, warehouse workers who made up the Just Sock It team topped the list with a total of 794 pairs. One group, Seeking Sole Mates, purchased a mailer pack of 600 socks of various sizes and manufacturers from Bulk.com.

Now that the competition is over, a plaque celebrating the winning team will be placed in the break room. The company plans to hold several charity drives throughout the year, Overton said.

Closer to the goal of 3,000 pairs of socks, the company added an additional competition – asking teams to decorate boxes used to bring in socks.

Plastic bins placed in front of the crates collected votes — in the form of cash donations — so workers could decide who had the best decorations.

Sock Hoppers topped the crate decorating contest at the end of the month after raising $99.18. The box was decorated to resemble an old jukebox, complete with vinyl records and a hidden speaker.

Other box decorations included flashing lights, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots, and images of Match.com profiles made for socks.

A total of $316.79 was raised through the voting process to be used towards the next fundraiser, Overton said.

For their next community project, the BorgWarner Drive Committee plans to collect school supplies.

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