mall gifts often have the most meaning. For the millions of people living homeless, a clean pair of socks is often described as “the gift of humanity.” HanesBrands, Winston-Salem, N.C., is partnering with organizations fighting homelessness nationwide to deliver comfort to those who need it most through the Hanes National Sock Drive.
The brand is marking 10 years of helping provide care and compassion during this year’s drive by:
• Donating more than 250,000 pairs of socks directly to organizations fighting homelessness in all 50 states, along with Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Since the program’s inception in 2009, Hanes has provided more than 3 million pairs of socks—one of the most requested items by relief agencies—to help the homeless.
• Giving an additional pair of socks for every order of any apparel placed in December on Hanes.com. Socks will be provided to local homeless shelters.
• Partnering with Rainier Fruit Company for its second “Pears for Pairs” campaign, which is currently running in United Supermarkets, Harris Teeter, Wegmans, and Lunds & Byerlys stores. From late September through January, Rainier is donating a portion of the proceeds from bulk and bagged pear sales to the Hanes National Sock Drive. In 2018, the Pears for Pairs campaign resulted in 20,000 pairs of socks being donated to five nonprofits.
• Offering consumers the opportunity to participate directly in the program by visiting www.hanes.com/donate to gift socks ($1), women’s underwear ($1), men’s underwear ($1.50) and bras ($6) that will be distributed in needed styles and sizes.
• Continuing its 10-year collaboration with Invisible People and its founder, Mark Horvath, to help raise awareness about homelessness. Invisible People uses innovative storytelling, educational resources and advocacy to help change how the public views homelessness and those living homeless in the U.S. and abroad.
“Most of us take basic apparel for granted, but we know a new, clean pair of socks can mean a lot to those experiencing homelessness,” said Sidney Falken, chief branding officer for HanesBrands. “We are committed to bringing a little comfort to those who need it most—and it is incredibly gratifying to have others, including many individuals across the country, join us in this effort.”
More than 100 agencies, including The Salvation Army Bell Shelter (Bell, Calif.), Homeward Bound (Asheville, N.C.) and Compassion Outreach Ministries (Columbus, Ohio), have received sock donations from Hanes.
“Small things really do make a big difference to our clients,” said Steve Lytle, director of The Salvation Army Bell Shelter. “The smile on a client’s face when she received a clean pair of socks for the first time in months was priceless. There was joy in her eyes and it was clear that the socks were the most precious gift she could have received in that moment. Another client said his gift of clean socks was a sign that there are people who care and that his life did matter.”
Homeward Bound distributes more than 2,000 pairs of socks a month to those living homeless.
“Homelessness is a community problem and it will take everyone’s support to help end the epidemic,” said Ashley Campbell, the agency’s outreach specialist. “Right now, some of your neighbors are living outside, in tents and under bridges, vulnerable to inclement weather and violence, stripped of dignity and our collective respect.
“There are so many ways to help,” Campbell continued. “Educate yourself about homelessness in your community, volunteer at your local agency fighting this issue or simply make a donation that would help a nonprofit save its limited resources.”
Jeffrey Tabor, director of TWO Men’s Ministry House for Compassion Outreach Ministries of Ohio, added that there is no donation too small to be used for good to fulfill a basic human need.
“Imagine the importance of just one pair of socks when you are focused on keeping your feet dry and warm during the cold winter months,” Tabor said. “That’s why we are so thankful for our partnership with Hanes, which has fulfilled an immediate, basic human need for so many people.”
Lytle underscores, however, that sometimes it all boils down to human contact. “Acknowledge people who are experiencing homelessness with a smile or hello,” he said. “By engaging with a person who is experiencing homelessness we are saying ‘I see you and you matter.’”
The Hanes National Sock Drive is part of Hanes for Good, the corporate responsibility program of Hanes’ parent company, HanesBrands.
For more information, visit www.hanes.com/sockdrive.