"Even like the subtlest things"

The homeless very rarely ever get a donation of new socks. Most people usually donate used or out of style clothing to the needy, but usually throw out their socks because they are warn. The homeless have very serious physical health problems because they do not have socks. There are other problems that are involving mental and spiritual health.

After being homeless myself, for six months during 2014, I remember the feelings of lack of self-worth, dignity and pride that I experienced.  We had stopped entertaining, our kids no longer wanted to have friends over, my oldest daughter wanted to quit cheerleading, people at their schools had noticed by this time and questioned and made fun of them for wearing the same eight tops and the same four pant to school, despite the creative combinations they came up with. It was during these lower times that I relied on perseverance, faith and hope. In whatever form that they come in, even socks.

New socks can help improve the well-being and outlook of the homeless. Socks are an easy yet positive way to help the homeless. Because of the harshness of their lives, many homeless people are crushed in spirit. I have seen socks bring healing to broken lives and provide strength during a time that they have none. It is a very basic way to feel normal. To feel human. To feel dignity. To feel hope.

Here is a William’s story:
“My name is William. The Shelter system, my personal feeling, is a shelter but they actually kick you out during the day, so all day you’re wandering the streets. Killing time, just wasting time, waiting to get back at 5 o’clock, so, and again, you’re walking around all day because you don’t have money to eat. So how are you supposed to commute, we walk everywhere, right? Especially in the winter when you’re wondering the streets you only have one pair of shoes, one pair of pants- just whatever is on your back. You get soaking wet, and then slush comes onto you when the cars come by, or you slip and fall. Like those socks just start getting like sand paper, you know, when they start drying up a little bit, and they start cutting into the back of your heels. At the end of the day, you’re cold, your feet are becoming pruned, so all around it’s just very demeaning. Even when you’re just walking around, you feel uncomfortable, you just look around at everyone else, and their feet are warm and dry, and you could just wish that, you know. Even like the subtlest things, like a pair of socks can make the biggest difference in the world.”

One pair at a time,
Erin Bertel
Mrs. North Dakota International 2015

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