Philanthropy — Devin Beeson is whole heartedly embracing community service, recently by collecting more than 1,800 pairs of socks for the homeless

At some point, it dawned on Devin Beeson just how vital having socks can be. Especially in Portland, where it can be so wet.

That spurred Beeson to start a sock drive for the homeless as her senior project at Newberg High School, but that endeavor is just the latest in her concerted effort be an active agent in changing people’s lives for the better.

Sparked at some point in 2012, Beeson just decided she wanted to give back to the community because her own family has received a lot of help from other people over the years.

The effort took a unique shape that July, when she launched her Facebook page, Paying it Forward Tracker. by: GARY ALLEN - Foot warmer - Devin Beeson has collected more than 1,800 pairs of socks for the homeless in Portland and Newberg for her senior project at Newberg High School. Beeson also maintains the ‘Paying It Forward Tracker' Facebook page to chronicle her community service and solicit suggestions from the community.

Beeson got the ball rolling by distributing “pay it forward” cards attached with either a gold dollar coin or a cupcake and request to do something nice for someone else.

Within a month, she found card No. 48, along with solar-powered dancing daises, attached to the windshield of a car in a parking structure.

Beeson quickly gave herself over to community service in a variety of ways, from donating blood and collecting food to spreading bark chips at local schools and volunteering at a horse rescue organization in California.

In addition to tracking her cards, Beeson uses the site to chronicle her efforts, spread the word about various outreach projects and encourage others to join her. She welcomes visitors to provide suggestions and ideas for what she might do next.

For the sock drive, Beeson pulled in most of the 1,800 pairs of socks she’s gathered from collection bins she placed at local churches and businesses, but also received a $500 donation from her mother’s employer, Schnitzer Steel, which translated into between 600 and 800 pairs after a trip to Walmart.

After dropping off a couple of hundred at a women’s shelter in Portland, Beeson donated the remainder to Love INC (In the Name of Christ) on Tuesday to be distributed in the Newberg area.

“I’ve learned to not take things for granted because even if I think I’m in some of the worst situations imaginable, there are people who have it worse,” Beeson said. “I’ve learned not to feel I’m better than anyone else. It was a very humbling experience.”

Beeson said she would like to make the sock drive an annual event, but even if that doesn’t happen, between her own drive and the accountability she gets from the website, it doesn’t appear she intends to slow down anytime soon.

“I’m just going to find different ways to help people,” Beeson said. “I’m going get involved with some kidney failure organizations because my dad is going through it right now.”

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