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


BorgWarner manufacturing plant employees will soon donate more than 3,000 pairs of socks to charities in Howard County.

Debbie Overton, human resources generalist at BorgWarner, said manufacturing employees at the plant often work six to seven days. While the company wanted to do something for the community, it didn’t want to ask employees to give extra time outside of work.

Instead, the company opted for an activity that could be done in the workplace.

Overton explained that the BorgWarner Drive Committee, which organized the charity campaign, chose socks over other items after consulting with the Kokomo Rescue Mission. The mission said they needed socks frequently and the driving committee agreed that it would be an inexpensive item to collect and easy to track. The BorgWarner Drive Committee still decides which organizations the socks will go to.

As of April 1, the committee only planned to collect 1,000 pairs. He achieved this goal in five days.

Upping the ante, the company raised the goal to 3,000. Voluntary donations exceeded the second goal, reaching 3,755 pairs by the end of the month.

Employees as factory employees were divided into 12 teams according to their place of work. Each of the teams competed to see which part of the factory could yield the most socks.

Dividing employees into teams added a healthy dose of finger snapping and friendly competition, Overton said.

Throughout the competition, a sock-shaped board in the factory break room kept track of team standings and the number of socks collected.

At the end of the month, the warehouse workers who made up the Just Sock It team were in the lead with a total of 794 pairs. One group, Seeking Sole Mates, purchased a shipping pallet 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 installed in the rest room. The company plans to run several charity campaigns throughout the year, Overton said.

Close to the goal of 3,000 pairs of socks, the company added an additional contest: teams were challenged to decorate boxes that had been used to bring in socks.

Plastic containers placed in front of the boxes collected votes – in the form of monetary donations – to let the workers decide who had the best decorations.

Sock Hoppers topped the box decorating contest at the end of the month, having raised $99.18. The box has been decorated to look like a vintage jukebox, complete with vinyl records and a hidden speaker.

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

A total of $316.79 was raised through the voting process and will be used for the next fundraising event, Overton said.

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

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