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What to Knit for Homeless People? Consider Socks

When we think about knitting for the homeless, many items come to mind. Hats, scarves, mittens, blankets. But what we often don’t consider might be the most badly needed item of all… socks. Yes, socks! Believe it or not, socks are the most desperately needed item of clothing for homeless shelters. The reasons are pretty obvious when you stop and think about it. Socks wear out more quickly than just about any other item of clothing, and they are rarely if ever donated to homeless shelters. And a surprising number of health problems stem from, or are made worse from, a lack of socks. So if you’re considering a project in which to help homeless people – especially if you’re a part of a knitting group – why not consider socks? All around the United States, charity groups have begun to recognize the need for socks at homeless shelters. Some of these include The Joy of Sox, Comfort Socks for the Homeless, Socks for the Homeless, Loaves and Fishes Socks for the Homeless, and Sox for Socks. These groups both conduct and encourage sock drives to offer to homeless shelters. Generally, these groups request donations of new purchased socks. I believe, though, that hand-knitted socks also fill the need well, and perhaps even better. Why? Because when you knit socks, you can create them to fill a precise need. Thick socks are generally considered to be the best for donating to homeless shelters, because they last longer and are warmer. So you can create thick, warm socks and know that you’re creating exactly what homeless people need.

How to Knit and Donate Socks for Homeless People

You can find a great post on knitting socks for charity right here on Knitting for Charity. This post includes several simple patterns for sock knitting, focusing primarily on socks for beginners or stash-busting socks. While you can certainly use one of the above-mentioned charities that collect socks for the homeless and send your socks there, you can certainly also donate socks directly to your local homeless shelter. This is a great way to give back directly to your own community. I also came across a blog post from 2008 that offers another idea: handing socks directly to homeless people. If you live in or near a large metropolitan city, sadly I’m sure you’ve seen panhandlers on the street. The author Susanna does note something you should be aware of if you decide to go this route: your gift may not be received with gratitude. But you will know that you are giving this person something s/he genuinely needs. It’s an interesting idea. So if you’re considering the best way to help homeless people in your area or your region, definitely consider taking up sock knitting. You could not only help keep homeless folks warm and show them love and support through knitting, but in some instances, you could help save a life.