Socks may seem like a simple, ubiquitous item of clothing. However, for people experiencing street homelessness, they can be a vital form of protection from potentially debilitating foot problems. More than 20% of medical problems suffered by individuals experiencing homelessness are feet related; including impetigo, skin breakdown, frostbite, infections and trench foot. Many people experiencing homelessness spend most or all of their time outdoors. They rely on walking to access services including shelter, meals, and medical care. Since few laundry facilities are available to them, these individuals do not often get to change their socks, which get dirty and threadbare and do not properly protect their feet. As a result, clean and proper socks are a coveted and important article of clothing at clothing banks, yet they are the least donated items.
Warm Soles aims to address this serious problem with a grassroots approach: we plan to collect at least 100 pairs of donated new socks and donate them to a local shelter. This would provide much needed foot protection for 100 or more people experiencing street homelessness in Hamilton. To collect change and socks, we have coin jars and sock boxes in the Arts & Sciences program headquarters (LRW 3038) and in the OPIRG space, and we will be selling buttons and reusable straws. Future events to raise funds and awareness will include sock cookie decorating, a movie night, raffle, and more, and we look forward to developing partnerships with other groups and organizations on campus and beyond.