Louisa student collects thousands of socks for the homeless

LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Christmas came early for Olivia Vibbert with two new puppies, but all she wants for Christmas is socks and a lot of them.

At just 13 years old, Olivia runs her own nonprofit organization called Cold Feet, Warm Hearts.

"I wanted to start it because I wanted to give back to the community and I like helping people," said Olivia told CBS19.

She started collecting socks for the homeless last year and is motivated by her own personal experience.

"When we were homeless, we didn't have a lot and we needed a lot," said Olivia.

Falling on hard financial times, the Vibbert family was homeless for seven weeks.

"We lived in a shelter, and during the day, we were out on the streets," said Krista Vibbert, Olivia's mother. "We would just have to walk around or just sit on a bench and wait for night time to come, so we would have a place to sleep."

On top of being homeless, the family was grieving after losing a child. Their infant daughter was stillborn at 36 weeks and just nine days after the gut-wrenching loss, Olivia's father, who served 30 years in the U.S. Army, was deployed to Kosovo.

Olivia shared her story of being homeless and losing her baby sister online, as well as her sock goals and instantly became a sock sensation. In just two days, 1,500 pairs of socks were mailed to her home.

"It's really brought us back together," said Krista. "We get excited when the UPS guy drops off 10 packages and they're from all over, not just the U.S, but all over the world."

Many of those packages have thoughtful handwritten notes, which have helped the family heal.

The sock campaign has grown into a family affair. Together they sort, tag, and log the socks for donation to various homeless shelters around Central Virginia and the nation.

In just one year, Olivia has donated more than 7,000 pairs of socks and her goal is to reach 10,000 pairs, hoping to warm the homeless population one sock at a time.

Olivia also donated 400 pairs of socks and 25 toe warmers to Louisa County Middle School's Socktober campaign.

She says they are in need of men's socks and hope to take a large donation to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond very soon.

If you would like to donate to the family, click on the link in the Related Links box to find the family;s Facebook page where you can contact them.