By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - With new florescent pink and blue stripes, lime-green frog faces and multi-colored polka dot socks, a few dozen foster children will have happy toes and big smiles on their way to a new school year.
Leslie Moshman, 11, gave the Vero Beach branch of the Children's Home Society 277 pairs of brightly colored socks on Monday. The socks will be given to various children in the foster system, children Leslie has a lot in common with.
The Children's Home Society representatives ooed and aahed over the donation and exclaimed at the rainbow of socks on display at the office.
Until two years ago, Leslie was in the foster system and knows what it is like to live in a home with other foster children, having very few things to call their own.
"I was in foster care for five years," Leslie said in a press release.
"I was mostly given plain white socks to wear. I hated those socks. The other kids had colorful socks with fun designs and cartoon characters. It was another way I felt different," she said.
She decided giving colored socks to other children would be a way of spreading smiles, and so she began purchasing and collecting socks from her family's circle of friends.
Once the news of the "Socks for Smiles" project spread to the blogosphere and Facebook, she received socks from around the country.
At the end of July, Leslie had purchased and received more than 350 pairs of socks, and every week more socks have been donated, said Rachael Moshman, her mother.
Frank Avilla, adoption marketing specialist for the Children's Home Society thanked Leslie for her generosity and caring.
"It is amazing to have someone your age that is so thoughtful," Mr. Avilla said.
When Leslie came into her new family's life in 2010, without even knowing her love for brightly colored socks, her mother, Rachael Moshman, had a whole drawer full of socks of every color waiting for her.
"I didn't know it was a big thing that helped her feel comfortable in her transition. I heard about this a year later," said Ms. Moshman.
"The only reason there weren't any white socks is because I like colored socks, too," she said.
The next batch of donated socks will be to members of Leslie's biological family in their foster homes in Texas, Ms. Moshman said.
For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.facebook.com/socks4smiles.