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Why Are Socks the Most Requested Donation Item?

By: Maria Werner-- 2015-12-11 9:50 am --

The lowly sock is simple, dull, and seemingly unmemorable. Yet it has the power to considerably improve the life quality for millions of people worldwide. Despite its humble nature, socks are the most frequently requested donation item by homeless shelters and nonprofit outreach programs. With 48.1 million Americans going hungry and 600,000 living without shelter, it seems odd that a boring old sock would be deemed superior to other donations. Here are the primary reasons why homeless shelters favor socks above all else.

Socks Reduce Foot Fungus and Infections
Though humble in nature, a single pair of socks can dramatically improve a person’s health. Socks help to wick sweat away from the foot, considerably reducing a person’s risk of athlete’s foot. They also provide a barrier between the foot and the shoe, which reduces the potential for blisters and chafing. The open sores caused by blisters are a haven for bacteria and can rapidly lead to infection. For homeless people, personal hygiene is often neglected, making them even more susceptible to foot fungus, sores, and infections.

Socks Promote Heat Retention
Socks add a layer of insulation, which increases heat retention in the body. A lot of body heat escapes through the feet, and socks can seal in warmth, allowing people to conserve their body heat more efficiently. Homeless people are routinely exposed to the elements, resulting in an increased risk of frost bite and hypothermia. Socks provide the extra protection needed to keep them warm and reduce their risk of cold-induced illnesses and injuries.

The Supply and Demand of Socks
The desirability of socks primarily hinges on basic supply and demand. Everybody needs socks, and a pair of generic socks only lasts a couple of months before they are too soiled or tattered to be useful. Homeless people go through socks at an accelerated rate, due to the increased moisture and dirt they’re exposed to. Since people need about seven pairs of socks each, this has created a tremendous sock demand that shelters are struggling to meet. With 600,000 homeless people needing seven pairs each and requiring new socks approximately every two months, that’s about 25,200,000 pairs of socks needed per year.

While the demand for socks is tremendous, the supply is greatly lacking. In fact, socks are the least likely item to be donated to nonprofits, which has inevitably led to a massive sock shortage nationwide. There are a variety of reasons people are less inclined to donate socks. With socks being such a generic item, many people are under the impression that shelters already have enough, and instead they opt to donate less common items like beauty supplies, baby products, and toys. Also, when donating goods, most people donate their own possessions that they no longer use. While it may be acceptable to donate used jackets and hats, donating used socks is obviously discouraged, which results in shelters having ample clothing but never enough socks to go around.

This year, rather than piling on to the mountains of bulk food and clothing, consider donating socks instead. Socks promote the health, safety, and comfort of homeless people, many of whom lack the essentials they need to stay warm and dry. Despite being such a crucial necessity, it’s the least likely item to be donated, resulting in more cold feet than the shelters can keep up with. With wholesale socks, you can purchase socks in bulk at affordable rates. This allows you to make a bigger dent in the nation’s sock shortage, while receiving the lowest possible price per item.