A good pair of shoes and clean socks are two of the most important things for people living without shelter. Socks not only protect against harsh weather, they prevent sores that can develop into infections causing more severe medical complications. These conditions not only make it painful to walk, but for people struggling to meet their basic needs, a sore can lead to an infection that quickly becomes more serious, resulting in amputation or worse. A few pairs of socks can very easily prevent severe infections and permanent foot damage for those forced to wear a single pair of shoes and who also lack the ability to practice proper hygiene.
Often, clean socks can be more difficult to obtain than food for many homeless people living on the street. While people in need often can find used clothing items such as shirts and pants, people often throw away their socks and shoes because they are dirty and worn. Also, homeless people have no way of cleaning their clothes, which causes them to get worn quickly.
Through our S. Mark Taper Foundation Shelter Resource Bank, we have provided hundreds of homeless shelters with shoes and socks since the program began in 1989. Thanks to our generous donors we are able to continue giving shoes and socks to those in need as they are available, but the need is so great, that we are constantly seeking more donors of new socks to keep with the demand.
One way we’ve been able to accomplish this is organizing a yearly sock drive in our office building. We also partner with other organizations that hold sock drives on our behalf. Recently, the Business Owners Management Association (BOMA) coordinated a sock drive at multiple locations bringing in over a thousand pairs of new socks.