Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Socks for the homeless

Recently I received an email inviting me to buy socks from a company that would donate a pair to homeless people for every pair they sold.  Wow!  What a great idea!  Following my requests that the company give me additional information (so that I could write about them here with certainty about who they are and what they do) I made a purchase and hoped it was really going to help someone other than my own feet. 
I can tell you some things about socks for the homeless that I know for certain.  First of all, homeless people go through socks quickly. Feet sweat.  Feet get wet in the rain and the snow.  Homelessness is darn tough on feet, and keeping feet healthy is certainly difficult with little or no access to bathing and showering facilities.

Many organizations have sock drives, particularly between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to collect socks to distribute to those in need.  Here in San Francisco I know of numerous organizations that distribute new socks to homeless people.  One is called A Good Idea (a really fantastic charity).  Advent of Christ the King, a local Episcopal Church does an ongoing sock drive.  Saint Anthony's Foundation does it on a huge scale - some 5,000 pairs of socks a year!

There is a wonderful organization called The Joy Of Sox, founded in Philadelphia by Tom Costello Jr.  It's very simple mission is to provide socks to homeless people.  They don't try to do dozens of different things.  This is what they do - and do very well.  They have volunteers and huge corporations all helping.  They have distributed socks all over too.  I really like what they are doing and invite you to check them out at

So, helping a homeless person with a gift of socks is within the reach of all of us.  You can participate in a program that already exists or start one of your own or simply buy an extra pair of socks while you are in the store and hand them off to someone in need. 

I've written about homelessness the past few days and would love to hear any thoughts you may have.  Got some more sock ideas?  Let me hear about them too!

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