“Some of the organizations we work with call clean socks ‘white gold,'” WeCount director Graham Pruss tells CHS. With no access to laundry, a clean, dry pair of socks can be a critical comfort if you’re living on the streets. They can also be the difference between sickness and health.
“We want to address that immediate, imperative need, and really engage people to be part of that,” Pruss said.
The WeCount nonprofit quietly distributed the new boxes around Seattle in the wee hours of Friday morning. They have been added alongside groups of existing newspaper boxes. You might walk by without noticing these aren’t filled with the local auto trader or real estate flyers. You’ll find the Capitol Hill box at Broadway and Pike.
Inside, volunteers are stocking the group’s blue-painted boxes with pairs of dry socks and are inviting Capitol Hill neighbors to do the same. Monday morning, CHS found the newly placed box in front of the Harvard Market QFC empty. Pruss said if you find the same, consider stopping by with a few pair of clean socks to add to the sock box. The group will also send volunteers around to make sure no piles of discarded dirty socks pile up.
For the sock boxes and WeCount, helping the homeless goes beyond laundry, of course. The Seattle-based nonprofit backed by tech entrepreneur Jonathan Sposato has set out to connect people with organizations already helping in the community and make it easier to make donations and find out what kinds of things are needed by groups working in the neighborhood. You can check out wecount.org for donation and volunteer opportunities.
Pruss sees the small acts like buying a pack of socks to donate so the homeless guy down the street has dry feet as part of the greater cause of “building political will.” He hopes WeCount can continue to grow to help provide items for people exiting homelessness like clothing for job interviews or alarm clocks and for people the organization can help prevent from becoming homeless at all.
The CHS the sock boxes, Pruss said, are a way for WeCount to make an immediate difference while also spreading the group’s message. You can also expect to see more of the repurposed newspaper boxes. The group is working on its plan to distribute feminine hygiene products in the same manner across Seattle.
WeCount is also looking for individuals, groups, and businesses to adopt boxes or add new ones around Capitol Hill.
“We wanted to put this into the community’s hands and create a community discussion around it,” Pruss said.
— WeCount (@WeCountOrg) October 22, 2016