Sock Monkeys for Sick

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In a time of crisis, sometimes a simple object can be a source of comfort. A woman undergoing cancer treatments is comforting others with a simple gift made from a pair of socks. Reed Galin Reports. 

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(Locator: Pelham, Alabama)

Beth VanSickle is limited by cancer, but her compassion remains unlimited.

Beth VanSickle, Founder, Sock Monkey Ministry: “I was a person who always wanted to go, go, go and do, do, do, very much driven in service and the mission work. And when I developed cancer, it just sort of put a stop to it.”

Ironically, it was during chemo that Beth discovered another way to help others. She remembered a simple sock monkey, a gift from her grandmother.

Beth VanSickle, Founder, Sock Monkey Ministry: “I’d see fear and loneliness and discouragement in many of the faces, so I started making monkeys and started giving them to some of the cancer patients.”

And Beth found many other places to spread smiles. She sent e-mails to orphanages offering sock monkeys to children and the response was so huge that an army of volunteers pitched in. More than 8,500 sock monkeys have found homes with folks who need a lift, like leukemia patient Shelby Haire.

Shelby Haire, Sock Monkey Recipient: “Love them a lot.”

Christy Haire, Shelby’s Mother: “For Shelby, they’re probably her best friend. She plays with them every day.”

Beth started the sock monkey ministry in 2005 at Christ United Methodist Church in Sugarland, Texas. When she moved to Alabama, members of her new church got behind the effort.

(Volunteer shows sock monkey) “This is going to be a shaggy-headed one.”

Beth VanSickle: “That’s awesome.”

Donna Corbin, Member, Pelham Lakeview First United Methodist Church: “Miss Beth has touched everybody’s lives with these sock monkeys.”

Volunteers spend at least three hours making each unique creation...

(Praying over monkeys) “We want the people that receive these monkeys to know…”

…and then send them off with a prayer.

Beth VanSickle, Founder, Sock Monkey Ministry: “It just gives me a renewed sense of purpose.”

Beth wants the work to continue for years to come.

Beth VanSickle, Founder, Sock Monkey Ministry: “That’s what my legacy I hope is, that everyone who receives a monkey will realize that that encouragement was by someone who was suffering from something similar to what they were. It’s a true blessing for me, personally, knowing that I’m leaving this world a better place than when I came in.”


More than 30 churches and organizations across the U.S. are now involved. The Sock Monkey ministry has provided comfort to cancer patients, those with autism or Down syndrome, troops, children in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the homeless, among others.

You can contact Sock Monkey Ministries by calling 205-620-6187.