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 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 (
The Joy of Sox (

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.

How many homeless in Philadelphia

It is very difficult to accurately determine how many people are homeless. It is estimated that there are approximately 4,000 persons who are homeless on any given day in Philadelphia. This includes only those who are in shelters or on the streets. It does not include those who are in transitional housing, low-demand residences, or in substandard/unfit living conditions.

In 2005, the City’s Office of Emergency Shelter and Services served 14,986 homeless people (including both single adults and family members) through its emergency shelter system. Of this number, 9,468 were adults without children, 2,011 were heads of households, and 3,507 were children.

Approximately 20 percent of the single individuals and 13 percent of the families were “chronically homeless” (homeless for one year or longer or four episodes of homelessness in three years).

This information was taken from the website of Project H.O.M.E.

There are great people out there

What moves people to do great things? One may never know the answer to that question, however Tommy Evans and the people at Alabama Whole Socks (AWS) sure do a lot of great things!

Recently AWS sent The Joy of Sox many pallets of socks.  We are extremely grateful!

Our volunteers will now package them up and soon deliver them to a homeless shelter, a soup kitchen and an Interfaith Hospitality site.

As Bert and John Jacobs, founders of a tee-shirt company, say, “Life is Good.”

Thank you for your donations

You know who you are.  And we thank you.  Please know that your donations will be put to good work.

With you donations The Joy of Sox is already starting a collaboration with a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

So the flowers and smiles are for you!

The Joy of Sox mascot

Leslie Birch said we need a mascot and it should be a sock puppet! Joy The Sock Puppet
Leslie Birch said we need a mascot and it should be a sock puppet!

The Joy of Sox has a new mascot.  And the mascot needs a name.  He or she will be incorporated into the header of the website and may even get an opportunity to go on a tee shirt, hat or pin!

The mascot is really excited about this, but sadly, does not have a name yet.

What suggestions do you have?

There are thousands of places to reach out to others

The homeless are in dire need of socks. The Joy of Sox - socks for the homeless.
The homeless are in dire need of socks. The Joy of Sox - socks for the homeless.

If you are fortunate to have some discretionary income in these interesting economic times I am sure you already have a favorite charity or two that you donate to.  Perhaps when you get the unsolicited phone calls in the evening or those unsolicited requests in the mail you do the same thing – hang up or throw it away.  And that is simple enough to do here – simply close out your web browser.

But if for some reason you want to know more, or even want to help please

What is a pair of socks worth – how about a big hug!

Handing out socks to the homeless is so much better than handing out loose change.
Handing out socks to the homeless is so much better than handing out loose change.

A few years ago, Tom Costello Jr, founder and Chief Sock Person, and his wife were volunteering at a soup kitchen in Philadelphia.  Here is the story Tom tells about that day that lead to the formation of  The Joy of Sox®with the mission of simply providing socks for the homeless.

I was really homelessphobic to the point that I would cross the street to avoid facing a homeless person.  I even didn’t want to go into the City for fear that I might come across someone homeless.