It’s a bitter cold night and my feet are propped up by the fire as I write this. A snowstorm is heading our way. I’ve often heard it’s the little things that count in life and tonight I won’t take my socks for granted. Let me share why.
While many of us may have a stereotype of a homeless person as an unshaven man on a park bench, every preconceived idea I had was shattered when I heard a woman and her young daughter speak at our United Way report luncheon last week. She had lost her job, fallen on hard times and, together with her young daughter, was the beneficiary of a United Way agency that serves the homeless. Suddenly I was looking at the face of homelessness: a working mom, not that unlike me. Tears welled in my eyes as I knew what our team along with several friends and clients was doing: seeking 500 brand new pairs of socks to give to United Way to distribute to their agencies that serve the homeless.
About a month ago I saw nine-year-old YouTube sensation Kid President making an impassioned plea for local communities to gather up new socks for the homeless in his #Socktober campaign. I was inspired. Why not do that here in our town? I interviewed our schools’ homeless coordinator and found out that we have over 700 homeless students in our school system. Our team set a goal of 500 brand new pairs of socks by Thanksgiving. We jokingly called it “Toe-vember.” Then we asked friends and clients to help us.
A huge thanks to Spine & Sports Chiro, Appearances Hair Salon and Summit Leadership Foundation which served as drop off sites for the new socks. Thanks to our friends in the media: Steve Hawkins at WFHG, Amy Lynn at DayTime Tri-Cities and Ron Scalf at Out ‘N About magazine who let us share our story through the media.We took to social media channels too, tweeting, Facebooking and instagramming our donated socks. The Tri-Cities Women’s Council of Realtors and the ETSU Public Relations Student Society all pitched in socks as did friends from my church group and some of my other clients. Today we gave United Way’s executive director Lester Lattany more than 500 pairs of new socks.
It’s bitter cold tonight but thanks to our community’s generosity over 500 homeless people will now have warm feet. At this time of thanksgiving I am grateful for wonderful, generous friends with big, giving hearts- and of course, for socks. (Note: here is link to Johnson City Press coverage of our sock drive.)