Volunteers at Binghamton University are taking steps to help the local community by providing socks for those in need.
This semester, BU students Shachar Avraham, a junior majoring in management and Zoe Liebmann, a junior majoring in political science, partnered with Knock Knock Give a Sock (KKGAS), a college student-run charity that collects socks for those in need. Avraham and Liebmann aim to collect 500 pairs of socks by December for donation to local shelters and work with organizations such as Rise-NY, Volunteers of America, YWCA and the YMCA.
KKGAS was created last November by New York University student Adina Lichtman after meeting Diego, a homeless man who informed her that socks were a necessity that was frequently overlooked in donations. After speaking with him, she decided to start collecting from her peers.
“I initially planned to get one person from each floor of my building, but other buildings wanted to get involved, so I announced the initiative in every one of my NYU classes,” Lichtman wrote in an email. “People suddenly wanted to become representatives, and within three weeks, over 120 floors at various NYU dorms had committed to the cause.”
According to Lichtman, in the first year alone KKGAS donated over 12,000 socks to charities and homeless shelters. She said that most people she encountered were excited to give.
“College students also don’t necessarily have time to spend volunteering, and people tend to feel really connected to a cause when what they give is what will be received—you get to know that you warmed someone up that winter,” Lichtman wrote.
Because Lichtman runs KKGAS alone, she recruits student representatives to run sock collections on 19 college campuses. She contacted Avraham and Liebmann through mutual friends.
According to Avraham, he chose to get involved because the cause was unique.
“This is a unique organization that’s collecting something people are not neglecting, but forgetting about,” Avraham said. “Think about how important socks are: they keep your feet warm, they prevent frostbite. Oftentimes we just donate our jackets and pants and shirts but we forget about socks.”
In the next month, Avraham and Liebmann plan to advertise the initiative with flyers, on Facebook and by word of mouth. The two will walk around their own buildings asking for donations, but hope to gain volunteers to reach as many residential buildings at BU as possible.
“It’s cool because you can do it on your own time,” Liebmann said. “It gives people the opportunity to go out and volunteer, and also it’s face-to-face interaction.”
KKGAS will also be featured in the Center for Civic Engagement’s (CCE) newsletter to spread the word. Christie Zwahlen, the assistant director of the CCE, said she expects the campaign to turn out well.
“The Knock Knock Give a Sock project is an excellent one to undertake in an area like Binghamton, where being homeless during the colder months is tantamount to a death sentence,” Zwahlen said. “My hope is that lots of people will contribute to making the challenge a success, especially since we have a significant homeless population locally.”