When I was eleven years old in 2001, I made one of my first visits to the border town of Tijuana, Mexico, where I was dismayed to see the discrepancy of living conditions in a neighboring community only twenty miles away from where I was growing up in San Diego, California. An even bigger shock came from seeing the large number of little boys and girls scampering around barefoot over pieces of large metal, glass shards, mud, and dirty, trash-strewn streets. Their feet were covered in nasty cuts, oozing sores, and pus-filled blisters. Some of the kids seemed to be shivering and their feet looked very cold. At that moment, I felt the overpowering need to take off my socks and give them to one of the children. But I realized one pair wasn’t enough. I went home that night to a very safe and warm bed and had a dream that I could give socks to all needy children in the world.
I wrote to several world relief organizations and found out that after food and medicine, new pairs of socks are desperately needed to provide a sanitary covering and protect the feet of the homeless, the displaced, the impoverished, and the victims of natural disasters and war. As I began to gather more information about homeless shelters and war-torn countries, I realized that my dream was also about restoring human dignity and giving desperate people hope. The next month I sat down on my garage floor and started stuffing new pairs of socks into boxes. Inside of each box, I wrote a short inspirational message translated into the intended recipient’s native dialect or language that would somehow let that person know that the world had not forgotten him or her and that a dream for a better life was possible. Before I knew it, world of mouth had spread through family and friends and almost every corner of my house was overrun with socks, SOCKS, and more “SOX”! Suddenly, friends and relatives were driving me to local agencies, shelters, and to Tijuana to deliver the socks. Without really realizing it, the charity that I officially named “SOX IN A BOX” had been launched. Now it was up to me to carry out my vision!