The goal of our 1.2 Million Happy Toes Initiative – Philadelphia is to provide one pair of new socks ever month to every homeless person around the Philadelphia area.
The Joy of Sox® was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on July 16, 2011, registration number 3,997,348.
The registration means that the name “The Joy Of Sox” is now protected under U.S. patent and trademark laws from others using the same name.
The trademark is granted for: charitable services, namely, providing socks to needy persons,
This is really cool!!
Press Release: Former High School Dropouts Give Back By Holding Bar-B-Que for the Homeless…and Socks!
Contact: Tom Costello, Jr.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Former High School Dropouts Give Back By Holding
Bar-B-Que for the Homeless
YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School Students
Serving up Hot Dogs and…Sock!
PHILADELPHIA, PA-May 12, 2011 ” What motivates out-of-school youth in Philadelphia to go back to school to earn a diploma? And what also motivates them to hold an end of semester service project where they are hosting a bar-b-que for the homeless? A group of students at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School feel that, regardless of their situation, there is always room to help the less fortunate.
On Thursday, May 19, from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Sullivan Building on N. Broad Street, 25 students will serve lunch to approximately 50 homeless residents from different shelters in the city. The students will also distribute socks, with goodies inside them as a special treat for the guests.
The idea for this project actually came from the students, said Willa Deitch, Community Projects Coordinator at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School. Earlier in the year, Tom Costello Jr, from The Joy of Sox, spoke to students about how he helps the homeless by giving them much needed socks. He also brought two cases of sock ˜seconds” to be paired before they could be distributed. The students enjoyed the project and wanted to find a way to continue working with The Joy of Sox.â€
“It makes me feel like I’m really making a difference”, says Amika Miller, a YouthBuild student in the class. “We want to remind people that we’re there to support them and each other.”
For more information about this event, please contact Kristen Forbriger at YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School at (610) 585-4819 or Tom Costello, Jr. from The Joy of Sox at 610-745-1075.
About Youth Build Philadelphia Charter School
YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School is an innovative alternative education program offering a second chance for former high school dropouts, ages 18-21, to earn their high school diploma while learning vital job skills. The comprehensive curriculum at YouthBuild combines rigorous academics, vocational training, community service, and counseling to help students establish and achieve post-secondary education and career goals.
About The Joy of Sox
The Joy of Sox is a 501(c)(3) organization that has a simple mission: to provide socks for the homeless. They also strive to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless and the health problems that can be mitigated by something as basic as a pair of new socks.
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This is really humbling. My undergraduate alma mater, Villanova University included my nonprofit, The Joy of Sox, in their Spring 2011 issue on service.
What started out as an attempt to help out at a soup kitchen in Philly has really taken off. And I’d like to thanks Father Peter for the introduction, and Mercedes Ott and Shawn Proctor for producing and writing the piece.
With only a little over six months of actual operation we have already given out thousands of pairs of socks to the homeless and needy in and around Philly, plus eight states and Afghanistan. We have had schools conduct sock drives, strangers donate socks, donations appear in the mail and on Pay Pal, and volunteers show up out of almost nowhere. We even had a resolution passed in Harrisburg by the state senate declaring Valentine’s Day as “National Socks for the Homeless Day.”
I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings, as we continue to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless, and the health problems that can be mitigated by something a simple as a pair of socks.
A big Thank You from me, and an especially big thank you from all those who benefited from new socks!!
The other day a friend told me about a homeless man he knew, but hadn’t seen him in a while. When he saw the man again the man was using crutches. My friend asked, “What happened?” .
The homeless man went on to tell that he was walking around (as the homeless do to get from one place to another) and it was cold and rainy. His socks got soaked. But they were his only pair. So he wore them (cold wet socks) for many days.
His feet got infected with some sort of gangrene. He was fortunate not to have his toes amputated.
A pair of nice new socks could have prevented this.
This is a little long…but hopefully worthwhile. From what I have observed in the passionate dedicated people I’ve met in the nonprofit world is a special “attitude.” I really couldn’t put my finger on it, until I came across this article entitled “What is a Social Entrepreneur?” So whether your mission is socks for the homeless, multiple sclerosis or juvenile diabetes I think this article really sums up the spirit of those involved in the nonprofit world.
What do you think?
What Is a Social Entrepreneur?
“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”
Britta Winans was on hand to talk about all the good work we do in helping provide socks for the homeless. She even developed a PowerPoint presentation that shows our reach and the number of people we have helped.
During the event a few people asked how they can get involved in helping provide socks for the homeless. Based on the level of interest we will probably have two more opportunities to conduct sock drives in local schools!
Tonight we had a really nice event – a sock sorting party at the Shir Ami Congregation in Newtown, PA. The event was organized by Gail Rose, and among the adult helpers that agreed to be photographed, were Rachel and Holly.
The amazing thing was that 18 or so “energetic” third graders, and a handful of 6th and 7th graders (plus a few Moms) were able to get so much accomplished in only a few hours.
Many thanks to the people of Shir Ami that came out to help. And it was a 7th grader who knew figured out that the homeless man in San Antonio who follows us on Facebook probably has access to a computer at a local public library.
What a great way to spend a Wednesday evening, and those socks are an initial part of our 1,200,000 Happy Toes Initiative – Philadelphia (more on that later).
Sock sorting event at Shir Ami Congregation netted 853 pairs of socks for the homeless and The Joy of Sox. From L to R: Rachel, Gail and Holly.
Yesterday afternoon I was in Philly delivering some socks. I was talking to Gerry at St. John’s Hospice and there was a homeless man, I believe his name was Nate, a few feet away.
Nate made eye contact with us. Gerry said hello and shook his hand. I said hi and also shook his hand. We chatted for a few minutes.
Nate said thanks for not looking through me, you gave me dignity.
The amazing power of just saying hello.
The other day Wayne emailed me with a question about socks.
He runs MAN Tucson.org. It’s a city wide men’s ministry that he founded to help care for the homeless in Tucson, AZ. They are not a ministry of a single local church, instead they are a Men’s Accountability Network that serves all churches in the city of Tucson.
One of the great things Wayne does each week is to go to Costco and buy food to feed the homeless on the weekend.
So, while email is great, I called him up on Sunday and we talked for a long while. More on this later, but we will be sendingÂ a case of new socks to him next week.
We are also in the process of setting up a Sock Drawer of The Joy of Sox in Arizona.
This is really exciting news!! Joy the Sock Puppet™, is now the official Spokes-Puppet for The Joy of Sox.
She is excited about her role, but still a little shy because she does not have a voice yet.
But she is fearless. She is already working on a series of videos for YouTube talking about the plight of the homeless and the health problems of not having proper socks.
And she is thinking big. She whispered to me this morning that she really wants to do Good Morning America.
She also was mad at me for taking her picture before she did her hair!
JeffHOPE is a constellation of student-run free clinics run by Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. JeffHOPE passionately commits to treating the underserved men, women, and children of Philadelphia, embracing the values of kindness, equality, and excellence.
They accomplish this mission by providing free, quality care to all, through student-run clinics; educating their patients on their health and how to maintain it; advocating for improved patient care; and teaching each other to become stronger clinicians. They aim to empower these individuals to regain their footing and climb out of poverty.
The Joy of Sox is happy to help provide socks to the homeless and needy population they serve.
On Sunday March 19, several volunteers helped organize and sort 3,550 pairs of socks for the homeless. These socks were recently collected from various school sock drives around the Philadelphia area.
The socks were sorted into bags of men’s, women’s and children’s socks. The children’s socks were sorted for ages 0 – 5 and 6 – 13.
The photo show some of the bags in our storage facility. Each bag contains between 36 and 52 pairs of nice new socks.
And lots of thanks to our volunteers who spent part of their Saturday bagging socks!
The Interfaith Hospitality Network Main Line, headquartered in Norristown, PA, unites people from different segments of the caring community to work collaboratively to alleviate the suffering of homeless families. And one of the things they needed, according to Sue Herchek White, Executive Director, was socks.
But not just any sock, they wanted socks for children up to age five. So last week The Joy of Socks delivered 250 pairs of colorful socks for the homeless children they serve.
There should now be 2,500 warm, happy toes.
The Billy Mock Foundation is generously supporting The Joy of Sox in a great way.
On a previous post we said that St. Thomas The Apostle School in Glen Mills, PA is holding a sock drive this week. The sock drive will be to collect socks for homeless children. Well, the Billy Mock Foundation has agreed to match the number of socks that the students collect.
So this is really 2 for 1 event! Thank you so much Billy Mock Foundation. There will now be twice as many warm toes this winter!
Next week is Catholic School’s Week in Philadelphia and the students at St. Thomas the Apostle School, Glen Mills, PA have decided to have a drive to collect socks for the homeless.
All students in pre-K through 8th grade will get involved.Â Â The students will collect socks for the needy children their own age.
After the drive the socks will be delivered and make lots of toes happy and warm.
Thanks to the students at St. Thomas!
Next week is Catholic School’s Week in Philadelphia and the students at Our Mother of Consolation School have decided to have a drive to collect socks for the homeless.
All students in pre-K through 8th grade will get involved. The lower grades will collect socks for children, while the upper grades will collect socks for adult.
After the drive the socks will be delivered to Chestnut Hill College where some student interns will bring them to the homeless around Philly.
Thanks to the students, faculty and staff at OMC!
What a wonderful experience it was to talk to Willa Deitch’s students at the YouthBuild Charter School in Philly yesterday.Â There were 13 students in her class.
The students were attentive, got involved in the discussion and asked a lot of questions – what a great class!
The service project that Willa picked for this class was two fold: raise awareness of the homeless, and provide the homeless with new socks.
According to their web site, “The YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School provides out-of-school youth in Philadelphia with the broadest range of tools, support and opportunities to become self-sufficient, responsible, contributing members and leaders in their community.”
And if this service project (more on this in a later post) is any indication of how these students can help the less fortunate in the community then we should be very proud of the job Willa and her students are doing.
Great job guys!!
On the eve of a snow storm in Philadelphia 144 pairs of socks for the homeless were delivered to My Brother’s Place, a homeless shelter of the Bethesda Project.
According to their website the Bethesda Project provides, “Emergency shelter and supportive services for over 300 of the cityâ€™s most vulnerable homeless population, providing shelter for 150 men each night as well as a day program for 200 men.”
And a special thanks to Clare for reaching out to us for socks.
We are also planned a collaborative partnership with the YouthBuild Charter School. More on this later.
On a cold snow-on-the-ground Sunday we made a sock delivery to St. John’s Hospice in Philadelphia.
St. John’s Hospice, according to their website “seeks to be a community grounded in faith and service where homeless persons find dignity, respect, nourishment, and opportunities for new beginnings.”
Yesterday there were about 35 men in the shelter being served a hot meal by a group from St. Thomas of Villanova Parish, Rosemont, PA.
144 pairs of nice new warm socks were dropped off and distributed to very grateful recipients.
Ah, the joy of socks!
The response from schools wanting to conduct sock drives has been overwhelming.Â So recently The Joy of Sox has created a Certificate Program.Â The program awards a certificate to those schools who have successfully organized and conducted a sock drive.
These schools will be recognized on a web page that is being developed.Â Meanwhile here is an image of the certificate that will be presented to The Montgomery School, Chester Springs, PA.
The Concept School in Westtown, PA, a college preparatory school for children who learn differently, did their part to collect socks for the homeless.
Cheryl Whitely, Secretary of the school’s PTO, saw Tom talking to Lori Wilson on NBC Channel 10 in Philadelphia.Â Cheryl immediately remembered being at the skating rink for too long when she was a child.Â Her socks were unbearably soaking wet then, and she couldn’t imagine being homeless and having to live with soaked feet without socks everyday.
So Cheryl decided to hold her own event.Â She brought the idea to the PTO’s attention, and everyone agreed: at the children’s performance of Shakespeare on December 17th, the admission would cost one pair of socks.
The school may only have about 30 students in its enrollment, but as Cheryl said, “every bit helps.”Â The final amount of donated socks will be determined this Thursday.
As I stopped into a local Wawa (a great convenience store chain) I noticed an Action News 6ABC van in the parking lot.Â A reporter and cameraman were interviewing someone.Â After I got some cash from the ATM machine I went over and wished them a Happy New Year.
It turns out the reporter was the morning news anchor Matt O’Donnell.Â Matt said they were asking people about their New Year’s resolutions and what was mine?
As it so happened that I had an extra The Joy of Sox wrist band with me so as I answered the question I gave a wrist band to both Matt and the cameraman.Â Of course my resolution was to give all the homeless in Philadelphia socks for the year.
If was fun being taped and talking about socks.Â Maybe the clip will make it on the news tonight – I’ll let you know.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) publishes a Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.Â The number of homeless quoted here are from the report for 2009.Â To see the entire 189 page document click here.
Homeless in the United States = 643,076
Homeless in PennsylvaniaÂ = 15,096
Homeless in Philadelphia = 5,798
Homeless in Pittsburgh = 1,136
How often do you change your socks? Every day?Â Well, the homeless don’t have that luxury.Â So let’s imagine that you can change your socks only once two weeks.Â That would be very yucky.Â And after that period of time they are so worn out you need a new pair.
If you do the math (a new pair every two weeks) that would be 16.7 million pairs needed every year to help the homeless in the United States.
And about 150,000 pairs for Philly alone.Â Â How do you think you can help The Joy of Sox?
Imagine having to wear the same pair of socks for a month…in the cold…or even in hot weather.
Well, according to the Encyclopedia of Homelessness, “Foot problems in homeless people are compounded by long periods of walking and standing, by underlying chronic disease and by lack of proper footwear.Â Prolonged standing and walking can lead to venous pooling and swelling and can also exacerbate the condition of people with peripheral vascular disease… Although homeless people can often obtain used clothing, new shoes and socks are not usually easy to obtain.”
Hence the Mission of The Joy of Sox: to simply provide socks for the homeless.
Quote taken from p 317, Volume 2, David Levinson, Editor
Brother Brian Wicks runs the Resurrection Ministries in San Antonio, Texas.Â A tradition down there is to fill socks with all sorts of goodies and hand them out to the homeless during the Christmas season.
Here Brian is handing out the filled socks to grateful street people.
The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania has accepted The Joy of Sox into their Donor’s Choice Program!Â This is a big accomplishment and means that anyone can pick The Joy of Sox for their United Way contribution at work.
So if your place of employment has a campaign for The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania you can specify that your donation goes to The Joy of Sox.
Our donor code is 49107.
Costco joins the list of companies supporting The Joy of Sox.Â The warehouse in King of Prussia, PA sent a generous gift card.
The gift card will be used to buy some much needed office supplies and equipment.
What a nice Christmas surprise.Â Thanks Costco!
Another great example of people helping people happened this morning.Â In this case it was volunteer children helping sort and pack children’s socks for homeless and needy children.
The picture shows Kloe Unruh, of Cradles to Crayons attempting to organize the young volunteers and convince the children that the socks are not for them.
Generosity is amazing.Â Lots of people are donating cash and socks to help us with our mission of simply providing socks for the homeless.
In this whimsical shot, portrait photographer Alex Bohn, captures founder Tom Costello Jr with sock donations just flying in.
We are trying to institute a new national holiday: National Socks for the Homeless Day on Valentine’s Day.
So in addition to giving your loved one flowers, candy and a card on Valentine’s Day we also want you to remember the homeless by donating a package of socks to a local shelter OR making a donation to The Joy of Sox to help support its mission.
Many people are very generous around the end of the year with holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. But in many parts of the county February has worst weather than December…and the homeless seem to be forgotten by then.
And since the homeless may need a pair of new sock every two weeks or so, wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to do get them some nice new socks in the dead of winter on Valentine’s Day (February 14th in the United States).
Nothing says Valentine’s Day better than by donating new warm socks to the homeless. National Socks for the Homeless Day on Valentine’s Day!
There are so many great people out there who embrace the mission of providing socks for the homeless, including the Camden Riversharks.Â The Riversharks are a minor league baseball team in Camden, NJ (just across the Delaware river from Philadelphia.
This afternoon I met with Brian Frankowski, Group Account Manager, to discuss how we can partner with each other.Â Brian suggested, among other things, a The Joy of Sox night at the Riversharks.
Perhaps everyone who brings a pair or three of new white socks would get in at a discount.Â Or perhaps there would be an ice water walk (more on that later).
And thanks to Mason Cutler of Guardian ID for making the introduction!
It is so wonderful that people all over the United States are continuing toÂ embrace the mission of helping provide socks for the homeless.
Ed Ablard, who is very active in the Meade Memorial Episcopal Church asked if we wanted a Chapter in the Alexandria, VA area.
Of course we said “Yes!”
Ed Ablard and Dr. Ed Pozarny, a noted Podiatrist, will be the “Regional Sock People” and will coordinate the collection and distribution of socks for the homeless.Â Ed (not Dr. Ed) will be getting a case of socks, brochures and t-shirts to get started.
We’ll keep you posted on the activities in and around Alexandria.
Welcome Ed and Ed to The Joy of Sox family!
It is so wonderful that people all over the United States are embracing the mission of helping provide socks for the homeless.
Of course we said “Yes!”
Lisa will be the “Regional Sock Person” and will coordinate the collection and distribution of socks for the homeless.Â Lisa will be getting several cases of socks, brochures and t-shirts to get started.
We’ll keep you posted on the activities in and around St. Louis.
Welcome Lisa to The Joy of Sox family!
Students at LaSalle College High School, in Wyndmore, PAÂ have a program where students distribute “care packages” directly to the homeless on the streets of Philadelphia.
Lew Clark, Director of Campus Ministry, who oversees the program is excited about partnering with The Joy of Sox in being able to offer clean new socks to the people on the street.
Lew says they mostly need socks for men, but have recently seen an increase in the number of women on the streets.
Students from Chestnut Hill College will deliver BOTH men and woman’s socks to LaSalle so the high school students can include them in the “care packages.”
Pictures from the streets of Philadelphia will be posted when available.
The Youth On Fire drop-in center was established in the fall of 2000 to provide a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for homeless and street-involved youth.
They have a need for socks for the street youth that they serve.Â Recently they contacted The Joy Of Sox and asked for a donation.
Ayala, who runs the operation was very appreciative and will be distributing them just before Christmas.
Brother Brian and his Resurrection Ministries in San Antonio, Texas were sent a case of socks for the homeless that he ministers to.
In San Antonio there are a number of homeless who live under the bridges and overpasses and Brian ministers to that community.Â As he said, “It’s starting to get a little cold down here and we are so grateful for the socks.”
The Joy of Sox is now an member of the Main Line Chamber of Commerce.
Tom Costello Jr, Chief Sock Person, is also active in the Chamber’s Nonprofit Roundtable and is on the Member Value and Education Committees.Â On April 15, 2011 Tom will moderate, for the third year, the annual Nonprofit Meet the Lawmakers panel discussion.
What a wonderful partnership:Â Whole Foods and The Joy of Sox (again).Â The Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown, PA decided to have a socks drive for The Joy of Sox.
New socks will be collected in the store until January 6th, 2011 and then donated to the homeless in Montgomery County, PA.
This is just another example of a great store reaching out to the less fortunate in their community.Â Thanks Whole Foods and Dana and the crew!!
Isn’t it nice when there is synergy?Â Well today was another synergy day!Â Cradles to Crayons (the giving factory) is a great organizations that collects AND distributes all sorts of clothing, toys, books, etc for children who are aged anywhere from…being in a cradle to using crayons.Â What a great place.
And it so happens that they need lots of socks for their children.Â Â And it so happens that The Joy of Sox has children’s socks to distribute.Â See, today was another day of synergy.
What a wonderful partnership:Â Whole Foods and The Joy of Sox.Â The Whole Foods Market in Wayne (Devon), PA decided to have a socks drive for The Joy of Sox.
New socks will be collected in the store until January 6th, 2011 and then donated to the homeless in Chester County, PA.
This is just another example of a great store reaching out to the less fortunate in their community.Â Thanks Whole Foods and Charlene!!
The Montgomery School a private pre-K through 8th grade school in Chester Springs, PA is holding a sock drive over the next two weeks.Â The goal, according to Deb Goggins, Admissions Director, is to collect 1,000 pairs ofÂ socks for homeless children!
The school became aware of The Joy of Sox because one of the parents saw a feature on NBC10 regarding the charity.Â The children in the school thought it was a wonderful idea to collect socks for children their own age who desperately need socks.
The Joy of Sox was featured on Lori Wilson’s “Your News” show last night on NBC10 in Philadelphia.Â The show highlighted some of the efforts that The Joy of Sox is doing to help raise awareness of the homeless in Philadelphia and across the nation.
The see the clip please click here.
Monica Yant Kinney, Metro Columnist, for the Philadelphia Inquirer came to the sock-sortathon at Chestnut Hill College and wrote a great story about the event for the paper.
With her journalistic inquisitiveness Monica also interviewed two doctors in Philadelphia to get a better understanding of the fate of the feet of the homeless.
Here is the first two paragraphs of her article, a link at the end takes you to the entire story.
“How many times have you seen a man on a steam grate dressed for winter except for his swollen bare feet? Everyone collects coats, but who thinks to give socks?
And yet doctors and homeless advocates say the feet suffer the cruelest fate of life on the streets…”
To see the entire story please click here.
On Saturday morning The Joy of Sox delivered about 540 pairs of socks to the St. Francis Inn in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.Â The Inn serves meals to the homeless in that section of the city.
According to Barbara, who is one of the directors there, “They are always in need of socks, especially at this time of year when it starts to get cold.Â Thank you so much!”
The volunteers from Chestnut Hill College who helped were Kerry Rusak, Chris Allen and Erica Butler.