Mother's love for homeless son inspires charity: 'There's nothing like a pair of socks'

Photo by Kim Debraal of she and her son, Michael.

There's something to be said about a mother's love for her son.

"He is my only son. He's 30," said Kim Debraal. "You just want to die; you just want to take their pain away."

For thirty years, Debraal has taken care of her son, Michael. For more than a decade, however, his addiction to drugs has pushed the pair apart. After 30 treatments and three overdoses, she says she can no longer help him.

She's using the pain she feels from her son's addiction to start a charity for the homeless.

Debraal hasn't heard from her son since August. She lives in Bend and believes he's in Portland. She says if she can't help Michael, she's going to help the community.

"I don't think there's anyone who can understand my pain. No one," she said.

Instead of turning her back on him, she channeled her love in the form of socks.

"That's the one thing that made him happy. He said 'there's nothing like a pair of socks, Mom.'"

With Michael in mind, she started a sock drive at her work Bend and is now expanding to City Team in Portland, where Michael spent a year trying to recover.

"I've had people sending socks from New York that knew Michael. It's not just me who cares, but a whole entire country that cares about him."

City Team is a non-profit organization that provides shelter, meals and a drug addiction program for the homeless. Michael spent a year at City Team recovering before he relapsed a few months ago.

According to City team director Mike Giering, socks are the most asked for item at the shelter.

"We fail to remember that, especially in the cold wet months here in Portland, that's one of those basic things that when you go without. It becomes painful," said Geiring.

The warmth of a mother's love for her son is now being given to others.

You can help by donating a new pair of socks directly to City Team in portland, located at 526 SE Grand Ave. Or you can bring the socks to Debraal's salon, Tropical Beach Tanning & Wellness in Bend, located at 1444 NW College Way Ste. 5. She will be holding the Drive until Dec. 20.

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