The year 2018 has been one of the busiest in the history of Sox in a Box. We don’t know how to explain the terrible tragedies that our world has experienced from the hurricanes in the southern United States and Puerto Rico to the severe earthquakes in Mexico and Indonesia to the raging and deadly fires throughout northern and southern California, but we have seen suffering and despair on the highest levels and we are so sad for the millions of people affected. What is most redeeming about these catastrophes are the numbers of charities like ourselves who are reaching out to help people in need. The thousands of people who have lost everything. Their possessions, their lifestyles, and their homes have left us feeling helpless and sad.
There is one person above everyone in our organization who deserves accolades for their contributions this year to our 501(c)3 charity. That person is Evan Papel, who single handedly arranged for over 15,000 pairs of our donated socks to be shipped directly to organizations like the Salvation Army and Red Cross inside the city of Houston. Out of his own pocket, he arranged and paid the expensive shipping costs to get a special truck into Houston in the nick of time. Mr. Papel also owns a fairly innovative sock company called Pocket Socks at Zip It Gear that uniquely has a pocket on the side of the sock that can hold everything from money to keys and some of our sock recipients in Houston were lucky enough to receive some of the clever and handy pairs.
We have also been able to use the services of Limey’s Lorries Trucking Company to get our socks out to Florida and then, even as far as Puerto Rico…a no-easy feat accomplished by Señor Juan Cobrez and his brother Enrico who have family there. As always, the benevolence of these people is absolutely mind boggling and reminds us that while we are all children of our own God, there are those who go beyond what is expected of them and do extraordinary things in life.
The collection of socks throughout the year would not be possible without the benevolence of hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school students who make sock drives for us. This year special shout out goes to the Sprites youth girl’s organization in the East County of San Diego who worked tirelessly for months to give us hundreds of pairs of socks and decorated boxes, and also to the second-grade class of Ms. Danielle Schniepp at Lakeview Elementary School whose adorable students asked the sweetest of all questions at our sock drive at their school.
Another big thanks goes to Starbucks Coffee Houses across Southern California. With their permission, we put in hundreds of empty boxes in their stores with the pleas to fill them with new pairs of socks for our sock after the hurricanes. The amazing result was that hundreds upon hundreds of people filled up every carton left in a Starbucks over and over again! How amazing and charitable are the people who live in our incredible country to give so generously to people who have lost everything! We were also so thrilled with everyone’s thoughtfulness about the nature of the socks that we received. There were even diabetic socks for people with foot conditions and tiny socks for little babies. There were even hand knitted booties and socks with amazing patterns that I had never seen before. While some people gave only a pair of socks, there were many people that gave bags full of incredible looking socks.
We would be remiss not to mention our deepest gratitude for the tremendous honor awarded to us by one of our favorite sponsors, St. Jude’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tennessee. This wonderful foundation, hospital, and research institution flew out all the way to San Diego to honor us this year for our work with Sox In A Box. Not only did they bring us tons of new pairs of socks and wonderful donations of money and checks but, also, almost committee member went out of his or her way to personally cheer us on for all our efforts. The luncheon at the Hilton on the Bay Hotel lifted our spirits and made us keenly aware of how many people in this world never stop giving and helping others. St. Jude’s not only addresses the many people from all over the world who have serious illnesses and render free medical help where needed but, also, their outreach is to other charities like ours with their message of all of us banding together to help one another. Our eternal thanks and hats off go to St. Jude’s with the hope that our relationship with one another will continue to grow and flourish for years to come!
But what was the best was how many people wrote out little notes and cards wishing people not to give up hope and praying for them to recover from this terrible tragedy. There were many notes with hand drawn pictures to make someone laugh and really sincere notes full of good wishes and helpful sentiments.
While this past year has been tumultuous in many ways, it has been all out volunteers and teams who have made all the efforts at Sox in a Box possible. Many of our volunteers put in major driving time twice a week to pick up filled sox boxes all over Southern California. Then, we drafted maybe 40 or 50 new volunteers who just showed up out of the goodness of their hearts to help us pack up the boxes for the hurricane and who have come out once again to keep our regular teams sort and ship the boxes to Indonesia and to the fires in Northern California.
We are now in our 17th year of operation at Sox in a Box. It is hard to believe that I started this charity when I was eleven. The continuance and operation of this charity would not be possible without the hundreds of volunteers who unselfishly give their time to help over and over again, year after year. We could not function without you. I would also like to thank the various TV and media publications who have brought attention to our efforts and who publicized drop-off points for our socks so that they could be picked up to help our various campaigns for socks.
Our goal for the rest of the year is to help the homeless. The number of homeless people throughout Southern California are on the rise and it is heartbreaking. The cold of the winter and the heat of the summer causes great sanitation problems. In san Diego (where Sox in a Box originates), the homeless are entering every type of establishment to wash themselves and use the facilities and now locks are being put on various bathroom doors to preserve the cleanliness of the facilities. It is all heartbreaking. We must find better ways to help the needy in our society to provide them with better lives. Please encourage all your friends and family to stay in school as long as their can. Their futures will be brighter.
Once again, thanks for making Sox in a Box the viable charity that is has become.