Pairs of SOCKS to Share

Reader's Digest Asia Pacific - - Everyday Heroes - HELAINA HOVITZ

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

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