Why & How to Give Socks to People Who Are Homeless


Mark Horvath, founder Invisible People

Socks are a real need for homeless people. Socks get dirty … they get dirty fast. Homeless people wash their feet, but often they have to put dirty socks back on.

Homeless people get sandwiches all day long, but very rarely do they receive socks. By handing out socks, you’re helping with a genuine need and creating a nonverbal connection that says, “You know something about homelessness. You care.” Plus, it feels good helping someone else in need.

  1. BE PREPARED. Carry socks in your backpack. Maybe carry a couple of pairs in your purse or in your briefcase. You can even keep a couple of pairs in your car’s glove box for when you’re at an exit ramp.
  2. CREW SOCKS, PLEASE. Whenever possible, buy men’s white crew socks. Don’t buy “no-shows.” Don’t buy tube socks. Don’t buy ankle socks. And try to avoid black socks. People prefer white socks over black socks.
  3. SAFETY FIRST. If you don’t feel safe, don’t engage with someone and give them socks. If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t go down that street. Your safety comes first.
  4. THE BEST GIFT COMES IN PAIRS. If you can, try to give every homeless person two pairs of socks. While surprisingly simple, new socks are gold to homeless people because they feel good and help protect them from several health problems.
  5. HAVE FUN. Some of my most amazing moments have been out on the streets with a backpack full of socks making new homeless friends. Helping somebody in crisis with something so simple as a pair of new socks makes you feel grateful for what you have. You’re going to see a smiles and shouts for joy. It’s an amazing experience.