While the holidays are a prime time to give gifts to loved ones, it also provides an opportunity to support those in need. There are several companies and programs centered around collecting shoe and sock donations for various groups, whether that be the homeless, people with disabilities or children and families who have a general need for essential products.
Most importantly, these initiatives are available year-round. So while the giving spirit is naturally at a high this season, the list below offers a number of places to give back at any time.
Bombas’ core mission is based on the fact that socks are the top requested clothing item at homeless shelters. To address this, the brand donates one pair of socks for every pair purchased. Its donated styles are specially engineered with features like an antimicrobial treatment (so that they don’t need to be washed as frequently), reinforced seams and darker colors for “greater durability with less visible wear.” Approximately 12.75 million pairs have been donated to date.
Shop with a purpose by way of DSW’s VIP program, which partners with Soles4Souls . For every pair of new or gently worn shoes that a program member donates at any of the brand’s retail stores, the footwear chain will give them 50 rewards points in return. 498,641 pairs have been donated since May 2018.
Joy of Sox
This Philadelphia-based project has helped give new socks to homeless people nationwide. Individuals who want to get involved have several options, including volunteering, holding drives and becoming a “Sock Angel” by spreading the word in your city or by helping to raise funds.
Knock Knock Give a Sock
The KKGS organization gives socks to those in need and helps to change the stigma around homelessness. It hosts sock drives around the world, as well as dinners that bring together those who are homeless with the communities who have donated to the cause.
Nike: One Shoe and Reuse-A-Shoe Programs
Nike’s One Shoe initiative, while not specifically a donation outlet, has select inventory of single shoes at their Memphis, Tenn.-based distribution center. This free service is a unique resource for amputees who need only one shoe — they may call Nike with their request, including shoe size and style (i.e. sneakers, sandals, etc.), at (800) 344-6453.
Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program recycles athletic shoes and converts them into new materials and products. The used shoes can be dropped off at any Nike retail store.
The Remix Project by Native Shoes
In partnership with Zappos for Good, Native Shoes has undertaken The Remix Project, which aims to collect 10,000-plus pairs of Natives and reprocess them into materials that can build playgrounds.
Zappos for Good
Zappos, Inc.’s charitable initiative has several programs for giving back, landing the company the honorary award for Social Impact from Two Ten this year. The company also teams up with Soles4Souls and provides the shipping labels for individuals to send in their donated goods.
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