“Family … Like branches on a tree,
our lives may grow in different directions
but our roots will stay as one!!”
Family donations are a great way to inspire younger generations to maintain a family value of making a difference in your community. Street Health is fortunate to receive donations from a family that takes this philosophy one step further.
The Just Socks Foundation began in 2014 and, this last winter, distributed more than 40,000 pairs of socks to community organizations who then provided them to those who needed them most. Just Socks was the brain-child of mom and philanthropic advisor, Terry Smith. When she talked to her son Graham and daughter Katey about starting a charity to provide socks for those in need (and to create a greater awareness about the issue of homelessness), they both eagerly agreed to support the initiative. “This project has brought our family together in different and very meaningful ways,” states Katey who handles day-to-day operations and community partner outreach. “Each of us works full time in very different industries, but our combined efforts on this project have enabled it to expand and provide socks to more than 60 community partners each winter. We are aiming to expand our reach across Canada in the next five years.”
Most Just Socks Foundation activity takes place online. Charities sign up and place sock orders; the public makes donations online through Canada Helps; charitable tax receipts are sent via email. They have no paid employees; all of the hands-on work is done by family volunteers. This combination makes their unique approach very cost-efficient, lowers administrative overhead, and puts the focus onto helping people in need.
All of this is also made possible thanks to strong partnerships with McGregor Socks and DSV Global Transport. McGregor provides the socks at a discounted price, warehouses the socks and packages each charity’s order. McGregor has also created a special sock with a thicker sole specifically for Just Socks Foundation and is the “sole” sock that is distributed by the foundation so charities know they are getting good quality socks in every shipment. DSV Global Transport then provides shipping services when required.
Just Socks Foundation raises funds primarily through public donations, during their annual Emergency Sock Drive in the dead of winter, as well as through corporate fundraising initiatives. A huge Sock Drop Event is a key component of the drive where thousands of socks are loaded into charity vans…providing much needed warmth that Street Health and other downtown charities can distribute to those in need.
“Last fall and winter, the Just Socks family efforts helped to ensure that 2,000 pairs of high quality socks reached the feet of Street Health clients during the coldest days of the season.” comments Katey. “Our family is very pleased to recognize the great work being done by our community partners and we’re glad to do our part in providing comfort and warmth to those who need it most.”
Smiling Street Health staff helping unload the Just Socks donation!