Pairs of SOCKS to Share
Afew years ago, Adina Lichtman was handing out sandwiches on the streets of New York to help people experiencing homelessness. One man, grateful for the sandwich, approached her and offered some surprising insight.
“It’s great that you’re giving out sandwiches,” he said, “but one thing we really need is socks, especially as winter approaches.”
“Here I was, sandwiches in hand, assuming I knew the best way to help people, when in reality, helping is about listening, and hearing the needs of different communities,” Lichtman said. “It was a powerful lesson, and I wanted to put it into action.”
She began that night, with a simple step: going door-to-door on the floor of her dormitory at New York University, asking fellow students if they could each donate just one pair of their own socks to someone experiencing homelessness.
She got 40 pairs of socks in a single night, from a single floor. The next morning, she opened her door to find
a huge pile of socks that other people had donated.
“Students love to do good, but sometimes they need a literal knock on their door to do so. And most everyone has an extra pair of socks they can donate,” Lichtman said.
That morning officially kicked off Knock Knock, Give a Sock (KKGS), a non-profit organisation that has now provided more than 350,000 pairs of socks to the homeless across the US. It is also now Lichtman’s full-time job.
“While many people donate clothing, nine out of every ten clothing donors have never donated socks. On top of that, people who are trying to donate socks often find it difficult to donate used socks,” she says. “KKGS is one of the only organisations that collects gently used socks. We have volunteers knocking on doors of their classmates in school, of their colleagues at work, and even of their neighbours.”
To date, more than 50 colleges and high schools across the US are involved in the project.
Adina Lichtman gives socks she has collected to a homeless man in New York