Villanova Alumni Magazine runs story on The Joy of Sox (socks for the homeless)

The Villanova University ALumni Magazine did a feature story on Tom Costello Jr and The Joy of Sox in their 2011 Spring Service edition.
The Villanova University ALumni Magazine did a feature story on Tom Costello Jr and The Joy of Sox in their 2011 Spring Service edition.

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!!

 

 

A homeless man on crutches

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.

What Is a Social Entrepreneur?

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.”

The Joy of Sox had an exhibit at Center on Central

The Joy of Sox's display at a Tom's Shoes, Day Without Shoes event held at The Center on Central in Paoli, PA. Britta Winan sis on the left.
The Joy of Sox's display at a Tom's Shoes, Day Without Shoes event held at The Center on Central in Paoli, PA. Britta Winans is on the left.

Isn’t collaboration great? Last week, to celebrate Tom’s Shoes, One Day Without Shoes awareness day, we set up a display exhibit in The Center on Central, in Paoli, PA.

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!

 

Sock pairing party at Shir Ami Congregation nets 853 pairs for the homeless

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.
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.

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.

 

What does a hello mean for a homeless man? “You gave me dignity”

A pictures of Jesus and the homeless at St. John's Hospice, Philly
A pictures of Jesus and the homeless at St. John’s Hospice, Philly

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.

Socks for the homeless to Tucson, AZ

MANTucson. The Men's Accountability Network is a great ministery that provides food for the homeless..and now also socks.
MANTucson. The Men's Accountability Network is a great ministry that provides food for the homeless..and now also socks.

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 sending  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.

Joy The Sock Puppet™, is our Official Spokes-Puppet

Joy The Sock Puppet is the official Spokes-Puppet for The Joy Of Sox - providing socks for the homeless.
Joy The Sock Puppet is the official Spokes-Puppet for The Joy Of Sox - providing socks for the homeless.

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!

Partnering with JeffHOPE

JeffHOPE and The Joy of Sox work together to provide socks for the homeless
JeffHOPE and The Joy of Sox work together to provide socks for the homeless

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.

3,550 pairs of socks sorted for the homeless

Lots of bags of sorted socks waiting to be delivered to the homeless by The Joy of Sox.
Lots of bags of sorted socks waiting to be delivered to the homeless by The Joy of Sox.

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.

The bags will be delivered to facilities in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Chester County, PA in the next two weeks.  Thanks to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for supplying the bags.

And lots of thanks to our volunteers who spent part of their Saturday bagging socks!

 

 

Lots of kiddie socks for Interfaith Hospitality Network

Unfortunately there are children in dire need of socks, so here are some happy socks for them!
Unfortunately there are children in dire need of socks, so here are some happy socks for them!

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.

Billy Mock Foundation to Match Socks for St. Thomas School Drive

The Billy Mock Foundation matched the number of socks collected by St. Thomas the Apostle School.
The Billy Mock Foundation matched the number of socks collected by St. Thomas the Apostle School.

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!

St Thomas the Apostle Conducts Sock Drive

St. Thomas Apostle School
St. Thomas Apostle School to conduct a sock drive for the homeless

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.   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!

Our Mother of Consolation School Collects Socks

Our Mother of Consolation School
Our Mother of Consolation School to conduct a sock drive for the homeless

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!

YouthBuild Charter School Sorts Socks for Homeless Project

 

YouthBuild Charter School - Philadelphia helped sort socks for the homeless with The Joy of Sox
YouthBuild Charter School - Philadelphia helped sort socks for the homeless with The Joy of Sox

What a wonderful experience it was to talk to Willa Deitch’s students at the YouthBuild Charter School in Philly yesterday.  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!!

Socks Delivered to Bethesda Project

144 pairs of socks for the homeless delivered by The Joy of Sox

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 city’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.

Socks Delivered to St. John’s Hospice

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!

Special Certificate for Conducting Sock Drives

A special certificate presented to The Montgomery School for conducting a sock drive for the homeless.
A special certificate presented to The Montgomery School for conducting a sock drive for the homeless.

The response from schools wanting to conduct sock drives has been overwhelming.  So recently The Joy of Sox has created a Certificate Program.  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.  Meanwhile here is an image of the certificate that will be presented to The Montgomery School, Chester Springs, PA.

Great job!!

The Concept School Collects Sox

The Concept School - Westtown, PA
The Concept School, Westtown, PA held a sock drive before the holidays.

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.  Cheryl immediately remembered being at the skating rink for too long when she was a child.  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.  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.”  The final amount of donated socks will be determined this Thursday.

New Year’s Resolution and Action News 6ABC

Matt O'Donnell interviewed Tom Costello Jr, Chief Sock Person for The Joy of Sox, about providing socks for the homeless.
Matt O'Donnell interviewed Tom Costello Jr, Chief Sock Person for The Joy of Sox, about providing socks for the homeless.

As I stopped into a local Wawa (a great convenience store chain) I noticed an Action News 6ABC van in the parking lot.  A reporter and cameraman were interviewing someone.  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.  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.  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.  Maybe the clip will make it on the news tonight – I’ll let you know.

Number of homeless in the United States

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) publishes a Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.  The number of homeless quoted here are from the report for 2009.  To see the entire 189 page document click here.

Homeless in the United States = 643,076

Homeless in Pennsylvania  = 15,096

Homeless in Philadelphia = 5,798

Homeless in Pittsburgh = 1,136

How often do you change your socks? Every day?  Well, the homeless don’t have that luxury.  So let’s imagine that you can change your socks only once two weeks.  That would be very yucky.  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.   How do you think you can help The Joy of Sox?

Medical foot problems for the Homeless

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.  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

United Way’s Donor Choice Program

United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
The Joy of Sox is now in the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania's Donor Choice Program

The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania has accepted The Joy of Sox into their Donor’s Choice Program!  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.

Children’s socks for needy little feet

Volunteer children sorting socks for homeless and needy children.
Volunteer children sorting socks for homeless and needy children at Cradles to Crayons in West Conshohocken, PA

Another great example of people helping people happened this morning.  In this case it was volunteer children helping sort and pack children’s socks for homeless and needy children.

The socks were collected at sock drives conducted at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia, PA and The Montgomery School in Chester Springs, PA.

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.

National Socks for the Homeless Day – on Valentine’s Day

We are trying to institute a new national holiday: National Socks for the Homeless Day on Valentine’s Day.

PA Senate Resolution 34 National Socks for the Homeless Day. The Joy Of Sox socks for the homeless.
PA Senate Resolution 34 National Socks for the Homeless Day. The Joy Of Sox socks for the homeless.

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!

Camden Riversharks supports The Joy of Sox

Camden Riversharks - minor league baseball team
Camden Riversharks supports The Joy of Sox

There are so many great people out there who embrace the mission of providing socks for the homeless, including the Camden Riversharks.  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.  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.  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!

New The Joy of Sox chapter opens in Alexandria, VA

Meade Memorial Episcopal Church to collect and distribute socks in Virginia
Meade Memorial Episcopal Church to collect and distribute socks in Virginia

It is so wonderful that people all over the United States are continuing to  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.  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!

Regional The Joy of Sox operation opens in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri - Gateway Arch
Lisa Martino-Taylor is the new "Regional Sock Person" for the St. Louis area.

It is so wonderful that people all over the United States are embracing the mission of helping provide socks for the homeless.

Lisa Martino-Taylor, a Professor of Sociology, at St. Louis Community College-Meramec in St. Louis, MO read about us in The Huffington Post and asked if we wanted a “rep” in the St. Louis area.

Of course we said “Yes!”

Lisa will be the “Regional Sock Person” and will coordinate the collection and distribution of socks for the homeless.  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!

LaSalle College High School to provide socks for the homeless

LaSalle College High School, Wyndmore, PA
LaSalle College High School students plan to distribute socks directly to the homeless on the street of Philadelphia

Students at LaSalle College High School, in Wyndmore, PA  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.

Youth group in Cambridge (Boston), MA gets socks

Youth on Fire youth group
Youth on Fire is a group in Cambridge, MA that ministers to street youth

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.  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.

Socks sent to help homeless in San Antonio, Texas

Resurrection Ministries - San Antonio, Texas

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.  As he said, “It’s starting to get a little cold down here and we are so grateful for the socks.”

Whole Foods Jenkintown, PA holds sock drive for The Joy of Sox

Whole Foods Market - Jenkintown, PA

What a wonderful partnership:  Whole Foods and The Joy of Sox (again).  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.  Thanks Whole Foods and Dana and the crew!!

Cradles to Crayons partners with The Joy of Sox

Isn’t it nice when there is synergy?  Well today was another synergy day!  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.  What a great place.

And it so happens that they need lots of socks for their children.   And it so happens that The Joy of Sox has children’s socks to distribute.  See, today was another day of synergy.

Whole Foods, Devon PA partners with The Joy Of Sox

Whole Foods Market to conduct a sock drive in their Wayne (Devon), PA store

What a wonderful partnership:  Whole Foods and The Joy of Sox.  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.  Thanks Whole Foods and Charlene!!

Montgomery School holds sock drive for The Joy Of Sox

Montgomery School to conduct sock drive

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.  The goal, according to Deb Goggins, Admissions Director, is to collect 1,000 pairs of  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.  The children in the school thought it was a wonderful idea to collect socks for children their own age who desperately need socks.

Philadelphia Inquirer covers “sock-sortathon” for The Joy of Sox

Nick Johnson, 18, a Chestnut Hill College freshman from Germantown, Md., carries a bundle of unmatched socks to be sorted. Photo (c) Clem Murray - Philadelphia Inquirer

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.

Student volunteers at Chestnut Hill College pair up donations. Tom Costello Jr (foreground) founded the nonprofit to give clean new socks to the homeless. Photo (c) Clem Murray, Philadelphia Inquirer

“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.

Socks delivered to St. Francis Inn, Kensington

Some homeless outside of St. Francis Inn in the Kensington section of Philadelphia

On Saturday morning The Joy of Sox delivered about 540 pairs of socks to the St. Francis Inn in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.  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.  Thank you so much!”

The volunteers from Chestnut Hill College who helped were Kerry Rusak, Chris Allen and Erica Butler.

Erica, Chris, Brother Fred and Bernie in the kitchen at St. Francis Inn.

Sock Pairing Party at Chestnut Hill College

Sock pairing party at Chestnut Hill College

How do you get 30 college students to hang around on a Friday afternoon before Thanksgiving?  Hold a sock pairing party!

The Joy of Sox was very fortunate to have several students and a few faculty and staff help pair socks that we donated by a manufacturer.

The paired socks were separated into men’s, women’s and children’s and then placed into bags donated by Trader Joe’s.

And to add to the fun the Philadelphia Inquirer sent columnist Monica Yant Kinney and photographer Clem Murray to cover the event.  And Channel 6-ABC also had a camera for some video.

By the end of the “party” the students filled 45 bags of socks, each containing about 36 pair.  That’s about 1,620 pairs of socks for the homeless!  Yeah!!

Local newspaper, Chestnut Hill Local, runs cover story

by Pete Mazzaccaro, Editor, Chestnut Hill Local
It was about this time last year that Chestnut Hill College business administration professor Tom Costello knew he had to do something about the socks situation.

That’s right. Socks. Costello, despite an admitted reluctance to volunteer his time at St.Vincent de Paul’s Face to Face dining room in Germantown, he and his wife went there two years ago. It was there that he first learned from a podiatrist that homeless people have a hard time keeping their feet healthy. Part of the problem is getting socks.

“When people donate clothes,” Costello told the Local in a phone interview this week, they donate pants, shirts, coats, but

KYW 1060 Newsradio runs story

KYW 1060 - All News, All The Time did a piece on The Joy of Sox

Lynne Adkins of CBS affiliate KYW 1060 Newsradio in Philadelphia, PA  ran a clip this morning entitled Local Man Wants To Keep Needy Feet Dry and Warm.

WAYNE, Pa. (CBS) -  Tom Costello Jr. was volunteering at a homeless shelter when a podiatrist told him the needy men and women there suffered from a lot of foot-related problems because so few of them had socks.

Costello says most people who donate clothes usually forget about feet:

“What do you do when your sweater wears out, well you give it to Goodwill or to the church. What about your socks? When they’re worn out, I threw them away, so you’ll find out the homeless have a lot of opportunity for coats, jackets or sweaters, but they don’t get any socks.”

He’s started the www.thejoyofsox.org to raise money to buy or to receive donations of new footwear for the homeless.

To see the article on KYW’s website please click here.

Thanks to Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's - your neighborhood grocer

We would like to thank Annette and all the Crew at Trader Joe’s in the Gateway store in Wayne, PA for donating 300 paper bags.

The bags will be used as a convenient way to transport bags of socks to the homeless.  The socks are separated into bags for children, women and men.

Thanks Trader Joe’s!

New Logo

The Joy of Sox (www.TheJoyOfSox.org)
The Joy of Sox (www.TheJoyOfSox.org)

Isn’t it great when people help other people?  Well, The Joy of Socks owes a special thanks to Don Dempsey at Cabrini College for donating his many graphic skills and talents in designing our new logo.

And also for having the patience to put up with the “process” of working with us.

Thanks again Don!!

Advocacy for the homeless program

Chestnut Hill College, as part of their community involvement program presented an Advocacy For The Homeless assembly for the entire freshman class last week for approximately 300 students.

The organizations represented were: St. Francis Inn,  Project H.O.M.E. and The Joy of Sox.

St. Francis Inn tries to meet the immediate daily needs of the people they serve with food, clothing and hospitality.  Furthermore, they empower persons to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty and address structural injustices. They seek to build relationships with those that they serve by respecting their human dignity and by helping them to restore hope in their lives, and by living simply among them.

Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education) empowers people to break the cycle of homelessness, address the structural causes of poverty, and attain their fullest potential as members of society.

The Joy of Sox simply helps provide socks for the homeless and involves community organizations to help raise awareness of homelessness.

Following the assembly the students met with their advisers to continued to develop programs to help these three special nonprofits.