Six years after starting SOX IN A BOX, we have made tremendous progress in reaching the needy with our socks and educating and empowering people to reach out to those who may be less fortunate. Admittedly, the quest to run our non-profit organization has not been without its challenges. When Hurricane Katrina first struck and we delivered socks to both the Superdome and to St. Bernard Parish in New Orleans, it was difficult to ensure that our socks were actually distributed and received by those in need. One of our shipments to Africa was stolen at the port and another of our shipments was held up in customs for months and eventually returned to us. However, for almost every disappointment there has also been a triumph that is awe-inspiring! We have approximately 6100 pairs of new socks waiting in our warehouse to be shipped out over the next few weeks with the promise of more socks coming to us by way of our sock drives held on the premises of various small and large businesses, churches, social and service organizations, school districts, and through the generosity of our esteemed individual donors and our wonderful corporate sponsors.
More importantly, we have been gratified to learn how excited our recipients who are children become when they receive our socks. Because we distribute our new pairs of socks in decorated Chinese take-out boxes with handles, we have learned that some of children use their sock boxes as purses or holders to store some of their most precious possessions.Our records show that this year, we have shipped or personally delivered socks to seventeen different countries this year! This past spring, Steve Brown and Fary Moini, two incredible Rotarians who are aiding in the building of schools in Afghanistan, took our socks to a new school in the city of Jalalabad where the children faced a very cold winter and spring. Next spring, they will be returning to Afghanistan where they will deliver some of our socks to the 43,000 homeless refugees living in a camp outside the capital city of Kabul. For the last two summers, my volunteers and I have had the opportunity to personally deliver new pairs of socks on a weekly basis to several orphanages in Baja, California. In the coming year, we will be delivering our socks to areas as far away as Papua, New Guinea and northern Australia as well as our target area of some of the most mountainous and tucked away jungle ridden and mosquito infected areas of Africa!
The impact on our donors, however, may be just as important as the impact on our recipients. We are excited to hear stories from parents that even little children can feel important and learn to give by picking out an inexpensive pair of socks and sending it to us. Ford Motor Company wrote to our charity and said that they would be happy to send us names of their retirees who could help us assemble our socks and man our office. Most of all, we have seen how our efforts to educate and inspire people to donate their time, to give back and contribute, to help and feel needed, have positively affected, changed, and impacted people’s lives: I know that the outpouring of support by everyone who has tried to help our charity has impacted mine!