In 2011, 7:00 pm on Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I was shopping for Thanksgiving dinner and as many of us would have been, I was deep in the thought as to who would be coming to dinner, needing to clean the house and how much food to buy. I was not thinking about the homeless, knew nothing about the homeless and suddenly without warning there appeared written in my head, like a continuing marquee banner, yellow block letters with a red outline: SOCK IT TO ‘EM SOCK CAMPAIGN socks for the homeless.
After shopping, I got into my car and immediately called my close friend Phillis Shimamoto and exclaimed, “You won’t believe what just happened!” I relayed to her about the banner message that had played in my head. I said to her, let’s email a handful of our girlfriends and tell them we’re going to collect new socks now to end of the December and then you and I will take them to shelter the first week in January. That holiday season we collected 575 pair of socks, and then in the first week of January 2012, we delivered the socks to three shelters in downtown Denver. At each shelter, we heard, “We can never have enough socks! Socks are the number one clothing need for those experiencing homelessness and the least donated item!”
We set out to put new socks on as many feet of men, women, and children in the United States who needed them. Via email and Facebook, we asked friends whether in Denver or in other cities and states to become Sock Ambassadors. Our first out of state Sock Ambassador was Regina Schroeder, in Manhattan KS who would prove over the next seven years to be an amazing ambassador of the cause, eventually providing thousands and thousands of socks to those in need, Sock Drawers in every school in their city and holding the first Sock It To ‘Em Sock Hop event.