Socks, underwear, and feminine hygiene products are some of the least common items that people donate to shelters and other non-profit organizations because they have to be donated new. However, these items are essential to the health and wellness of both individuals experiencing homelessness and our community at large. The lack of clean socks puts individuals at risk for numerous skin and foot problems including fungal infections, blisters and callouses, and stress injuries from prolonged periods of walking or standing. During the winter, socks help protect against the cold and other diseases like the common cold. Prolonged experiences with homelessness reduce overall health and compromise the immune system's ability to fight disease.
WHO WE ARE
We are a student-run 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works to fundraise and distribute socks and other under-donated items to people experiencing homelessness in Austin, TX. Because we are both a nonprofit and a student organization, we are able to connect UT students to the harsh realities experienced by individuals in Austin's homeless population and to provide our members with an opportunity to create a larger impact. Throughout the semester, we host a variety of events revolving around fundraising and service. With the help of our mostly student volunteers, Socks for the Sole hopes to bring the UT and Austin communities together.
HOW WE GOT HERE
A group of students at the University of Texas saw a need in their own community: homelessness. There are more than 7,000 people experiencing homelessness in Austin, Texas and their needs are often unmet. Living without reliable shelter can create many health problems that most people don't have to think about, especially in the COVID-19 era. While there are many resources in Austin that serve people experiencing homelessness, we noticed that socks and underwear were requested consistently from both nonprofit organizations and individuals experiencing homelessness. We recognized that we probably wouldn't solve Austin's homelessness crisis, and that's okay. We decided that we could help with socks, which, although small, make a huge impact on people's lives.