Knocks for Socks
By: Akiva Marder
Making a difference can often seem daunting. But this past semester, the Yeshiva College Tzedek Society took a stab at it. Joining up with Knock Knock Give A Sock, a nationwide college-started initiative which has sourced over 600 pairs of socks to donate to the homeless for the cold winter.
Tzedek Society President, Yosie Friedman (YC ‘17) describes the club’s goal as “raising awareness of relevant, meaningful, and potentially actionable social ills and then fostering action and response.” In order to do this, the club focuses on developing projects that will address and help resolve a particular social ill, ones that raise awareness and push students to take action.
Knock Knock Give A Sock, an organization dedicated to collecting and distributing socks to the homeless, has similar goals. Its founder, Adina Lichtman, is currently a student at New York University and serves as Community Service Chair at the University. She decided to start the organization when giving out sandwiches to the homeless. One New York City man approached Lichtman and told her, "It's great that you're giving out sandwiches but one thing we really need is socks, especially as winter approaches.” On average, homeless wear four to five pairs of socks during the winter and yet it is the least donated article of clothing. Lichtman’s encounter reshaped her thinking, pushing her to recognize the power of asking and listening if one truly wants to help. Later that night she went knocking from door to door, collecting socks on her dorm floor at NYU. From there, Knock Knock Give A Sock was born. It has since developed into a mission spanning over sixteen colleges and to date has collect over 20,200 pairs of socks for the needy.
Therefore, when a member of the Tzedek Society called attention to Knock Knock Give A Sock, an organization dedicated to collecting and distributing socks to the homeless, it seemed like a perfect match.
With the winter fast approaching, the Tzedek Society rushed to the drawing board, developing a multi-layered game-plan. The sock-drive raised much of its socks and awareness through its Raffle Extravaganza sponsored by the laundry company Course Loads and a Battle of the Floors competition, seeing which floor could raise the most socks in their designated boxes. The sock-drive also did two Knocks, two nights where Tzedek Society members ventured to each room, knocking on their doors, and asking them to donate.
“The campaign took both a lot of brainpower and physical energy. Inevitably, as with any charity campaign, the Sock Drive had its fair share of hurdles and setbacks,” noted Friedman. The committee had to constantly think of creative and fun ways to spread awareness and encourage their peers to donate. They hung up posters, sent out Y-studs, and dressed up in wacky sock costumes to help spread their message. “What motivated us to go through with it was the desire to make a difference.”
And their persistence truly paid off. The Wilf Campus alone collected, 630 pairs of socks, the second largest amount of any institution involved in the mission. Muss Floor 3 won the Battle of the Floors and Binyamin Bixon won the free Course Loads laundry service from the Raffle Extravaganza. “When we brought all the socks together at the end, we were shocked to see how many there were,” exclaimed Tzedek Society member Yair Strachman. “Even more rewarding though, was recognizing the amount of awareness we spread- awareness of this specific issue and a more general awareness that there are things and people in the world who need our help and that we have the power to make an impact.”
Knock-Knock Give A Sock will close out it with its final event on January 29th, a celebration of everybody’s hard work and contributions ending in a walk to a nearby shelter where they will donate hundreds of pairs of socks. For Lichtman, the last event embodies what she sees as a major goal of the organization, to “meet your neighbors while meeting the needs of others,” a true and powerful way to bring the world a little closer together.