3 Reasons SOCKS Are Essential for Our Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness
It’s difficult to determine exactly how many people are experiencing homelessness at any given point in time. Even more challenging would be an attempt to calculate how many US citizens have at some point been homeless . Digging deeper to account for what state of homelessness one may have faced and for how long is virtually impossible, such as were they bouncing from couch to couch at different friends’ houses, living in a vehicle, were they employed? There are so many factors to consider when discussing the state of homelessness in the US, but one thing is for certain, those that have been displaced from shelter and homes need items that so many of us take for granted, and one that is most important but often forgotten is….SOCKS.
Socks are extremely valuable to our friends experiencing homelessness. Let’s dig into some of the most salient reasons why.
Socks are the least donated clothing item in shelters
Simply put, socks are in short supply. Food, blankets and hygiene items, for example, are some of the most frequently donated items to shelters. When it comes to clothing, when most think of donating, it’s often items like hats, gloves, jeans and sweaters top. But socks, while highly prized, are the least frequently donated item…high demand, low supply. It’s difficult to say why this phenomenon exists but it is changing.
Bombas made incredible impact on the philanthropic scene by being one of the first companies to bring to the forefront the idea that socks were in short supply in venues where they were in the highest demand. Now SOCKS is poised to activate a nation of givers who are committed to keeping shelters and streets supplied with comfortable socks.
Shelters are one thing, the streets (or in many cases the woods or other “off-grid” areas) are another. Not everyone that is experiencing homelessness comes in contact with shelters. Which means there is a significant portion of the homeless population that not only needs new socks, but is lacking access to those socks. So there are two issues that persist: (a) lack of socks in general to accommodate the very high demand and (b) a medium that socks are needed (the streets) not having as much traction and foot traffic by those willing to donate, which is most likely caused by most people not knowing how to reach our friends experiencing homelessness in the streets who often go “unseen”. For this reason, SOCKS began the SOCKS Box and volunteer programs to get more people like you out in the streets of the Washington, DC area. Click here, if you are interested in volunteering and here to learn about hosting a SOCKS Box Drive.
Clean, dry socks promote foot health
Immersion Foot Syndrome, more commonly known as Trench Foot, is a serious foot condition resulting from one’s feet being wet for too long. During WWII, trench foot was responsible for 2,000 American and 75,000 British deaths. Although awareness and treatments for the malady have vastly improved since the 1940’s, those living in harsh conditions outside and lacking access to consistent healthcare are still susceptible to the ailment; and more likely to lose life or a limb due to it. Literally. If untreated, over time trench foot can lead to amputation, gangrene or tissue loss, permanent nerve damage and ulcers. For more information about trench foot, read this article.
But trench foot isn’t the only health concern. Dry socks can help prevent frost bite. Clean, dry socks help to abate the spread of athlete’s foot. Especially black socks, which have been shown to have special abating characteristics due the properties of the black dye used for the socks.
Comfortability is also a major concern. Often a person experiencing homelessness relies on their feet as a primary mode of transportation. Walking several blocks or miles per day without the proper socks, or socks at all, can become quite uncomfortable, even painful. Blisters and callouses form which then further exacerbate the difficulty. And if it rains and shoes get wet, without being able to change socks, fungus and infection spread. Often finding blisters and open wounds form from extended walking without socks, and create breeding grounds to wreak more havoc when exposed to germs and fungi.
Socks tend to wear out quickly
It’s awful when your favorite pair of socks develops a hole or tears while putting them on. Well, it is exponentially more awful when that pair is the only one you have, your only pair, or one of very few pairs. And that is the reality of most people experiencing homelessness. The combination of a lack of socks and limited access to laundry facilities makes the useful life of socks much shorter when homeless.
Not to mention, far too often folks are forced to wear the same pair of socks daily and once those wear out they are lacking a replacement. Or they are forced to put a dirty pair back on. No one wants to put on a dirty pair of socks. But you can help. SOCKS has spent the last 6 years abating this very real issue with real impact, interacting with real people that are facing these very real, sometimes, life threatening situations. SOCKS goes out in the streets and finds our friends and neighbors that need socks. Sometimes, we forget the sensitivities that come with requesting necessities, things that should be a given for all of us…like toothbrushes, toilet tissue, and socks. And our friends that face homelessness sometimes may be apprehensive to ask for socks, so in turn we go out in the streets and ask them do they want them instead. We make it our job to find those that need them and our aim is to get a fresh, clean, dry pair of socks to all those that do. It truly goes a long way. A Click here to donate to the SOCKS Movement and help our cause to get socks to as many people experiencing homelessness as possible – and keep them coming.
What is amazing is that within the realm of this homelessness epidemic, you can make a difference. Someone’s life can be meaningfully impacted by your donation of new socks. Consider making that donation today either with a purchase or your time. Thank you in advance for joining the SOCKS Movement to remind the world what love looks like.