Staff Photo: John Bohn Kailey Landress, 11, of Buford, is working on collecting 10,000 pairs of socks to send to troops serving overseas. Landress, a 6th grade student, is placing home made signs and collection boxes at local area businesses.
SUGAR HILL -- Kailey Landress is like any normal 11-year-old girl. She's in love with Justin Bieber, watches "WWE Raw" and is very active in sports, singing and dancing. But there is one thing that makes her stand out from others her age: her plans for the holidays.
Instead of counting down the days until Thanksgiving break, the sixth-grader wants to collect 10,000 pairs of socks to send to soldiers by Dec. 10.
393 Buford Highway, Suwanee
664 Buford Highway, Sugar Hill
Dentistry 4 Kids
3525 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suwanee
Gary Holcomb Cleaners
4376 Buford Drive, Buford
North Gwinnett Middle School
160 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. , Sugar Hill
"Most people take soldiers for granted. They don't realize that they can't go out and get a new pair of socks because the ones they have are dirty or have a hole in them," she said.
Landress and her mother, Melissa Norris, thought up the idea after reading an article about Jenevieve Joseph, an 11-year-old Gwinnett girl who collected hundreds of teddy bears and donated them to Gwinnett County Police Department.
Norris thought, "We can do that. Socks for soldiers."
From that moment, Landress took control of the project by creating a Facebook page, securing drop off locations and working on the project during her lunch breaks at school.
"Don't worry, I still eat," she said with a laugh.
She has everything set up -- now she needs socks.
"We have about 40 to 60 pairs of socks so far and that's what we've donated," she said. "More would be even better. We're hoping to get a lot more."
The mother-daughter duo have set up five drop-off locations: Tire Omni of Suwanee, Super Tire of Sugar Hill, Dentistry 4 Kids of Suwanee, Gary Holcomb Cleaners of Buford and Landress' school -- North Gwinnett Middle of Sugar Hill.
"I don't know anyone in the military," she said. "I just figured that not a lot of people know (those) in the military, but you can still give them something to show them your appreciation. They are giving us so much. They deserve something as little as socks."
Landress added, "If it wasn't for (military personnel), we probably wouldn't be here right now. We wouldn't have the freedoms that we do and we wouldn't be as safe as we are."
Landress is asking for new or gently used socks that fit men, women, children, toddlers and babies. Color doesn't matter; old socks with stains or holes will not be accepted. After Dec. 10, Landress and her family will pack up the donated goods and send them around the country and overseas.
"I could not be more proud of her," Norris said. "She amazes me every day and she isn't only the love of my life, but she is my best friend and I will always try to help her make her dreams come true."
Landress plans to hold the sock drive every year around the holidays.
"Maybe we could try for statewide next year," she said.
For more information about Socks for Soldiers, visit www.facebook.com/pages/Socks-FOR-Soldiers or email Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org.