Hi everyone! Once again, we are Kara and Carlos and we are the correspondents taking over for Dani Marco to share with you the news of everything going on at Sox In A Box.
The biggest news that we have to share with you for anyone who regularly looks at our website is that our webmaster, GO Daddy, inadvertently lost half of our website and valuable photos in some sort of clean up/inspection mishap. We have tired to retrieve some of the information but sadly, some of our most meaningful photographs of our recipients in Africa and Asia are lost forever. Also, for all of you who came out for the big photograph of all of our volunteers, that photo has been lost and we are looking for anyone who also has a photo of all of us standing outside our offices or at the restaurant. We are looking also for the photo of our founder, Dani, talking to the mayor of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. We are also trying to locate any extra photos of the ones we took after Super Storm Sandy especially the ones of the cute doggies that we brought to the local animal shelters. Let us know if any of you have any extra photos sitting round. We also want to do biographies on some of our hardest workers. If you are brave enough to volunteer to be interviewed for our updates, please contact us through Dani’s website that is listed below.
Our biggest surprise of the year was a visit by a Japanese contingent of people who came from the northeast side of Honshu, the main island of Japan that was struck by a terrible 9.0 earthquake and the resulting tsunami that injured so many people, resulted in over 15,000 people to lose their lives, and caused over 200,000 people to lose their homes back on March 11, 2011. Many of you will remember the urgency we experienced in getting out socks to them because so many of their belongings were swept away or flooded by all the water. A good friend of one of our volunteers, Kazue, knew key people in Honshu on the east side of the island and we were able to send five thousand pair of socks almost immediately although some of our volunteers were up several nights running to do so. Unfortunately, Dani collecting socks at a school when the Japanese delegation showed up unexpectedly but they came on our Valentine’s Day with red paper hearts that they had personally cut out and made and they hung them all over our office to express their thanks for helping them in time of crisis. Fortunately, Kazue was there and able to translate and we had tea on hand that they claimed they really liked. So all went well. Our visitors shared with us that still, life is not back to normal on Honshu and many survivors of the tragedy have not been able to get on with their lives because of the loved ones and homes that they lost during this terrible experience. They told us that still many people, years later, are still living in temporary housing. They shared with us that the wet mud was over everything at the time and that our socks helped them stay dry and warm which they really appreciated. They told us that Japan is prone to earthquakes and that they have learned to live day by day and be grateful for the life they have because the future is always uncertain if one lives in Japan. All of our volunteers who were there expressed admiration over Japan’s resiliency and their country’s ability to take care of their own because we haven’t seen that happen in so many of the developing countries that we support in times of crisis.
Finally, we want to address this year the increasing problem of homelessness in our cities of San Diego and Houston and the steps that Sox In A Box is taking to reach out to people in need. In Houston, we have made friends and found a deep connection to the Baptist churches throughout the city. Mrs. Naomi Bensen and Ms. Carla Walters along with Ella Sanders and Gregory Smith and their moms have spearheaded collection drives at their various churches and we owe them our deep and overwhelming gratitude for putting hours into the sock drives at their congregations. The City of Houston Police Department have alerted our teams to the parts of the city where college students from Rice University can safely deliver our socks to the shelters in Houston. This year we have seen a tremendous amount of rain and flooding that have hampered our deliveries but next year we pray that Houston will be able to address the increasing need to build more homeless shelters throughout the greater Houston area to accommodate the growing numbers of people who are hungry and have no where to stay during the cold winter months.
In San Diego, almost every trip downtown results in a sad vision of the homeless just sitting on sleeping bags (if they are lucky) and meandering all over K Street and other nearby locations. Our donation of new pairs of socks to these people and to places like Father Joe’s Villlage where President and CEO Deacon Jim Vargas helps all these poor people try and live better lives have made our Sox volunteers feel extremely gratified over our hard work to help them. This past year we have been able to band with our local Salvation Army and pass out socks at the same time the Salvation Army is handing out needed toiletries. During the last two months of holiday season where the temperatures have dropped, we have made our socks available to homeless people who use various soup kitchens like the Hunger Project, Food Bank, and Bread of Life, and shelters in the various suburbs throughout San Diego.
Next year, we are thinking of attaching our new pairs of socks to every blanket that is handed out to the homeless in San Diego. If they can take off their shoes and lie under a warm blanket every night in a shelter, using a new pair of socks as slippers, we will feel that we are helping these needy people in some way.
One of the most important aspects of dealing with the homeless people in San Diego and throughout our United States is a topic that concerns our founder, Danielle Marco greatly—that of the terrible malnutrition that is experienced by an overwhelming amount of poor people that we are trying to help. None of these people on the streets and many of the young children to whom we send our socks are eating properly or sufficiently. When Dani visits orphanages in areas of Mexico that are less than forty to fifty miles in distance from San Diego, she is shocked by the number of people who literally are struggling to eat even one meal a day. Sometimes when Dani leads a group of volunteers and heads for Tijuana with protein bars, nuts, and fruit for everyone, they are taken away from her at the Border crossing. Even if she travels with several adults and caravans of cars, the border police in Tijuana will not let her continue unless she gives them a tip called a “propina” in Spanish. It is a very disheartening experience.
For everyone or anyone that wants to fight hunger worldwide, she is recommending that they contribute to various non-profit institutions including: 1. Heifer International, an organization that buys animals for villages all over the world to enable them to have the milk from cows and goats, proteins from pigs, and sheep to provide warm winter clothing; 2. Vision Trust that provides either protein rich meals fore children or chickens to farm for their eggs or meat; and finally Samaritan’s Purse, that will use your donation to nourish mothers, infants, and children for only $7 a week (828)262-1980,