November 8, 2023
Curated by Takyrah Anderson
What have you most loved and appreciated about the community project/initiative that you are involved in?
It is incredible to watch our community come together to help others. Socks for Hope is a collaboration of individuals, businesses and organizations that collect socks to support individuals experiencing homelessness and hardship in Hamilton and Halton. We believe that people like donating socks because they are low-risk, low-cost, and fun to purchase. And the transparency of our process gives credibility. Contributors see exactly where their donations go and watch the deliveries take place in real time to our partner organizations that provide vital social services to people in need: Halton Compassion Society, Men’s Street Ministry, Wellington Square United Church, The Camisole Project and The Angel Project.
What is your connection to the project/initiative, and why is it so important to you?
Socks for Hope began 10 years ago as a collection initiative by Burlington Taxi. Our drivers collected socks in their taxis and account customers and business partners reached out to say they wanted to join us. It was incredibly heartwarming to watch how this little project grew out of sheer “care” for helping vulnerable people in need. Burlington Taxi closed its doors in 2021, and we carry on Socks for Hope in its honour.
Today, as food and housing insecurities are at an all-time high, the need for socks is more significant than ever. Did you know that socks are one of the most demanded but least donated articles of clothing at shelters across Canada? If you are living rough, and your socks become wet, they become disposable. There is nowhere to dry them. Clean, dry socks are a necessity for foot health. People think about donating many other items of clothing but often forget about the almighty pair of socks! Socks are vital to keep feet dry, warm and free from disease.
What is happening through the project/initiative that you would like to see more of?
We aim to bring more awareness to our community about the hardship that residents in your neighbourhood may be quietly experiencing. Let’s open up this conversation. Let’s look deeper.
We go out of our way to work with students every year. Socks for Hope provides students with leadership opportunities to help others and learn about the vulnerable people in their communities, at their schools and in their neighborhoods. They may have friends in need of support that they never knew were struggling.
This year we are working with Central Public High School Student Council and WH Morden Public Elementary School students.
What would you like to see happen next for the project/initiative?
Let’s develop our purpose in helping others and gain more understanding of what people are going through. Why are they struggling? Is it a financial crisis? Job loss? Rent too high? Are there medical issues? Is it mental health? There are a myriad of reasons why someone is living with insecurity. And it can happen to any of us. Life can change on a dime.
When we take part in Socks for Hope, it is a double gift. Yes, we are helping others. And that feels good and serves an immediate need. But there is more. Giving to others and understanding their adversity teaches us things. If you don’t look, you don’t learn and you cannot possibly understand. Seek to understand. That is the wisdom that will help to foster real change. Leadership begins with learning. We are fortunate we are in a position to help, but can we do more? It is a blessing to be a part of this community and watch SFH grow.
What would you want or need from the community to make your next steps successful?
A pair of socks. This one gesture means so much. I remember an elderly lady dropping by during a snowstorm with a pair of hand-knit socks. It brought tears to my eyes. A moment I will never forget. Our website socksforhope.ca has a community page with a list of all of the Ambassadors that have drop-off locations across Hamilton and Halton.
If all those good things happened, what could be made possible in our community that wasn’t possible before?
Receiving a pair of new socks in the middle of an extremely cold night with wind chills of -30C can mean survival. Socks will keep feet dry, warm, and clean. They send a message that says, “We care about you.” “We are here to keep you safe, warm and comfortable.”
Socks for Hope gives us a pathway to learn more about people facing adversity, struggling to make ends meet, living unhoused, in emergency shelters or tent communities. Let’s dig in and learn more, and turn toward the problems at hand.
“Please donate a pair of socks,” is a pleasurable ask. Socks are a symbol of love and care. This campaign is accessible to everyone. The camaraderie, the joy and the low pressure of collecting socks together- one pair at a time – all ages included – is inclusive and meaningful on many levels.
Be a newsmaker!
What would happen if we celebrated what is strong in Halton?
Community Development Halton is interested in sharing the news of individuals, groups and organizations that are strength-based, working at the edges and the middle of issues of community well-being, social justice and community building in Halton.
If you are interested in sharing your story, please head to the following LINK. We are excited to hear from you!