I’ve become known for giving out socks: new, fresh, clean socks. I estimate at the time of this writing I’ve given out more than twenty thousand pairs of socks to homeless people and panhandlers. I say this not to brag, but to make a point that I have a lot of experience interfacing with the simple transaction of handing someone a pair of socks and getting his or her reaction. I paid for the socks myself to start and now through the social ministry my wife and I established.
Most often I give out cotton, crew socks, although in the summer sometimes I’ll pick up some no-show socks and in the winter I’ll try to get my hands on wool or other kinds of thick socks to protect the feet from the elements. A typical cost for a pair of socks is about seventy-five cents, sometimes a little more in the case of the thicker socks and less if I buy socks in bulk from an institutional supplier.
I almost always receive at least a simple “thank you,” and surprisingly I get hugs, handshakes, occasional tears, and other heartfelt expressions of gratitude. Why? Socks are a commodity. Not only are they easy to find, but socks are pretty inexpensive. Oftentimes homeless shelters will have socks available for distribution, although not always new socks, but at least freshly laundered socks. So again, would people express such gratitude over a simple, inexpensive and easily available item?
Many of the folks we serve our breakfast to each day could, with little effort, obtain a fresh, clean pair of cotton socks. But when socks are handed to them by someone who spent time, effort, and money to meet their needs, the recipients are naturally grateful. In spite of the circumstances, they find it important to express their gratitude to
– An execept from my new book, “THOSE PEOPLE – The True Character of the Homeless” scheduled for release October 2018
[image credit: redeeming god dot com]