This post was written by Terry Smith, President, Just Socks Foundation, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.
Our family had never really thought about how important socks are until we heard a radio documentary one cold February morning. The segment explained how shelters rarely had socks to distribute to people in need. New socks are the least donated items of clothing yet one of the most needed items. Socks keep feet dry, free from disease, and warm. The radio segment also explained how doubling-up a pair of socks would help a donated pair of boots fit much better helping recipients through snowy winter days.
Charities cannot accept used socks for sanitary purposes and because people do not think about donating new socks, we were astonished to find out that there is a huge need for new socks across charities and shelters in Canada. It was because of this that we decided as a family we could help. We wanted to concentrate on simply closing the gap on the need for socks, hence we created the Just Socks Foundation to keep those who are experiencing homelessness in clean, new socks year round.
At Just Socks, we raise money for new socks and then donate these new socks to our charity partners. Our partners are registered Canadian charities serving the homeless and less fortunate in Canada. Just Socks began donating to charities in Toronto in 2014, and we have expanded to many cities across Ontario with requests now coming from as far away as Vancouver and Halifax.
How We Work to Keep Feet Warm
Our process is simple: we collect online donations (with immediate tax receipts through CanadaHelps), we then purchase socks in bulk, and then we provide socks directly to qualified partner charities/shelters. We are a family run, totally volunteer led and managed organization. Most of our work is done online. Charities first request socks from us online, and then we order the socks through the web and our charity partners are then advised when the orders are ready via email. All this work is done by three family members. We all have busy jobs, but we all feel it is important to help others that might be in need of a warm pair of socks.
Incredibly, 95 percent of our costs are directly related to purchasing socks. A $20.00 donation buys 25 pairs of new quality socks. We have pre-ordered the socks so when we receive donations we can deliver the socks almost immediately to the charities.
Our Impact Keeps Growing with Community Support
We have a special partnership with McGregor Socks who have created a unique sock for exclusive distribution by the Just Socks Foundation. These socks are thicker, cushioned, warmer, wick away sweat and last longer than regular cotton socks and are provided by McGregor at less than cost price. We have also partnered with DSV Air & Sea Inc., a great shipping company that assists in transport of the socks when needed.
To date, we now have partnerships with over 65 charities, and have donated over 100,000 pairs of socks. We accept donations year round, including our online Christmas Sock and Corporate Sock Drives. Our Annual Emergency Sock Drive is during the winter and includes our event, The Big Sock Drop when DSV Air and Sea Inc. loads up a trailer full of socks from McGregor’s warehouse. Last year we met 26 charities and dropped off thousands of pairs of socks all in one day.
It is because of the support from our partners, generous donors, and the wider community that we are working to keep every needy foot warm this winter. JustSocks.ca—its an easy way to give!
To learn more about the Just Socks Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit their Charity Profile Page.