Sock collecting nonprofit gains momentum
October 6, 2014
After knocking on doors for almost a year, Knock Knock Give a Sock, founded by Silver junior Adina Lichtman has received over 12,000 pairs of socks to give to the homeless community. Last November, Lichtman founded the program after she was inspired by her previous volunteer work with the homeless and realization that there was a great need for socks.
“One guy stopped me and said that it was really nice of me to hand out sandwiches, but also told me that one thing they can use are socks,” Lichtman said.
The interaction caused Litchman to ask what the homeless community needs and helped her decide to start the program. Lichtman went door to door collecting socks from her Palladium floormates and received over 40 pairs.
Following the early success on her floor, she recruited one person on every floor in Palladium residence hall to knock on doors. Then, she made a Facebook page and received a phone call from her friend at Columbia University who wanted to expand the organization. She said that though college students can be lazy, the program requires little effort from individual students.
“What is so special about this initiative is that it’s so easy to do on [a] college campus,” Lichtman said. “If you knock on college students’ doors, 95 percent of the time they go to their sock drawer and pull out a pair of socks.”
In four weeks, KKGS had collected 4,000 pairs of socks, which were donated to different hospitals that serve as foot clinics for the homeless.
Litchman also highlighted the lack of sock donations. Typically, people think to donate bigger items of clothing like coats and pants, but socks can be forgotten or thought to be unwanted.
“Everyone gives clothing, but no one gives a pair of socks because, ‘why would they want my socks?’ That’s the mentality,” Lichtman said. “Homeless people wear four to five pairs of socks every night. On top of that, shelters don’t take used socks. But the need is so high, especially in the winter. If you have wet socks, you’re going to get a foot infection.”
Stern freshman Emily Chen said socks are a good donation.
“I would donate socks to the homeless because it’s a lot more tangible than giving them spare change,” Chen said. “A few dollars can only buy maybe a bottle of water, but a pair of socks can last through the winter.”
Lichtman has also reached out to sock companies, and, KKGS is now on 16 college campuses. Members at each of the branches will start knocking on doors on Nov. 1 and continue to do so until Dec. 1.
“My vision for Knock Knock Give a Sock is that every college student donates one pair of socks,” Litchman said. “It’s something that is so easy and gets the community to work together … You know that somebody out there in the cold is wearing your socks, and you feel like you did something.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 6 print edition. Email Shinil Kim at [email protected]