2018 JEFFERSON AWARDS: Nominee Makes Sure “All God’s Children Shall Have Socks”

It's a simple mission that's all about socks.

She brings us socks, underwear, mittens, hats, gloves, those types of things for children who we see on a daily basis who do not have those types of items," explained Pat Allison, Site Director for Skip-A-Long in Rock Island. "She doesn't have a set time. You can just open up the door at any minute and she`s walking through the door with a bag."

The woman behind the bag is Sharon Hayslett. More than a decade ago, she started Thy Loving Kindness Ministry - All God's Children Shall Have Socks."

"I started in Davenport at a church I was going to," Sharon said. "There were kids that would come to that church and they wouldn’t have socks and mittens and gloves, so me and one of the Deacons started selling pop cans to buy things like that for them to keep them warm."

The group now serves schools, shelters, and nursing homes across the area by supplying people with thousands of those items every year.

"Our motto is to help those in need regardless of race, color, or creed so we don't discriminate anyone," she explained.

One of Sharon's stops is Skip-A-Long in Rock Island, where Pat described Sharon as a "hidden hero" who makes a direct impact on children at the Rock Island campus.

"Not only does she provide for the Rock Island Campus children and their families, we also have an Open Door Program within Skip-A-Long and she also gives to the Open Door Program and they distribute those socks and mittens or whatever she gives to them to the community as a whole," explained Pat. "So, not only is she making a difference within Skip-A-Long, she's also making a difference to other individuals within the community."

Sharon understand that all too well. As one of 21 children, she said her family couldn't always afford the necessities.

"If we lost one of our gloves, we would put socks on our hands to keep them warm and so I knew what it was to be without," she said.

It's why her mission is so meaningful - helping those who are just like she was.

"Someone helped us when we were kids and I want to be able to be a blessing to someone else," Sharon said.

For each of those small blessings, we are naming Sharon Hayslett and "Thy Loving Kindness Ministry - All God's Children Shall Have Socks" a 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominee.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation celebrates public service and the people in our communities who are changing lives. Every Wednesday in January and February, WQAD News 8 is introducing you to our 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominees. In March, we will announce our area's Finalist. That person gets to attend the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer and meet other Finalists from across the country.

To see who was nominated in our previous three seasons of the Jefferson Awards, click here.