Hanes Donation Provides Warmth & Opportunities for Ministry

Captain Phil Smith, courtesy of www.salvationarmyexpectchange.org. (Photo by Nikole Lim)

Did you know socks are the #1 item requested at our homeless shelters? And thanks to Hanes’ generous donation of 250,000 pairs this last Christmas season, our shelters were able to provide many individuals with this much-needed and often overlooked commodity.

Guest blogger Captain Phil Smith in Santa Barbara, California decided to use part of their sock donation to support their “Street Level” Outreach Ministry in a place where the largest population of homeless people, transients, and nomads tend to congregate.

Here’s his story:

“The outreach provided through this program seeks to triage homeless people with on the spot response to needs like food, first aid supplies, hygiene items, referral services, spiritual counsel, prayer, and a listening ear. It is a ministry of compassion in the form of services like these directed specifically to those on our streets.

Many times the individuals we meet are amazingly self sufficient. They have learned to live within the means available to them, with creativity. It is not uncommon for someone on the street to turn down an offer of food or other things we might think they would benefit from. However, 99 times out of 100, an offer of new socks is received with a smile that might not otherwise have surfaced for a long time.

Inevitably, I find that new, warm socks can be the one good thing that happened in that person’s life that day – maybe even that whole week if not longer!

Socks are like gold on the street – and many people who have received them use that very word to describe them with gratitude; not because they are sold or traded like other street commodities, but because they genuinely meet a very real need.

I see one man every week we go out. His name is “Preacher.” He is an older man – nearly 75 – and suffers from diabetes. He is almost always under the influence of alcohol and will stay in one place for a long time as it is difficult for him to walk.

His feet are swollen with sores and although he self-administers his insulin three times a day, the long term effects of his diabetes are evident. I always offer him socks thinking he must need to keep his feet clean etc. When I do, his eyes seem to come out of their glaze for just a minute and then he will get weepy.

We always have a great time of prayer together and I have found that he is so grateful for this simple gesture of love and care. Often he will put the socks away for someone else he knows that needs them even more.

So, are Hanes socks an effective, meaningful donation to the work of this Salvation Army ministry? You bet! And not only do we extend our thanks and gratitude to Hanes but would say to those who make these decisions… Please keep ‘em coming! It works!

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Want to donate socks or other clothing and household goods? Click here for ways to show your support for those in need.

Thanks, Captain Smith and Expect Change, for providing this great story!