I’m Not Going To Wait For You To Do It I’m Going To Do It Myself
So let’s start where the goods have made their way to:
-5/17 4:49 pm Abingdon Square Park mentally ill Caucasian woman in her 70s The last socks & crackers packet
-5/19 1:59 pm by Union Square Whole Foods Caucasian man in his late 50s He had a small/ medium sized dog. I offered him a pet supplies packet saying, “This has dog food & a treat in it… could you use this?” He was nodding ok. He said, “You don’t know of anyone that could give me any work?” I replied, “No I’m sorry sir I don’t.” He then asked, “You don’t have a cigarette do you?” I answered, “No I’m sorry sir I don’t.”
-5/26 7:05 pm 14th st Uptown 1/2/3 platform African American man 1 pair of socks
-5/27 1:28 pm Manhattan bound R train African American man in his 20s He was saying, “I’m out here looking for work. Anyone could spare some change, help me get a meal?” I held out socks and asked, “Do you want these, these are new…” He nodded yes.
5:25 pm 15th street between 5th & 6th avenues African American man sleeping 1 pair of socks
6:10 pm Caucasian man in his 30s & 2 boys I had 2 pairs of socks on me. He was saying his wife passed away, any donation to help feed his boys. I held out the socks & asked, “Would you like these, these are brand new socks.” He answered, “Sure, why not. It’s one less expense since my wife left. Thank you very much. God bless. Have a great night.”
-5/28 4:47 pm African man in his 60s 6th Avenue between 11th & 12th streets. He had a sign reading reading: homeless/please don’t pass me by/please be an angel and help me
I offered him a pair of socks. He said, “Yeah, thank you. God bless you.” I saw him put them on.
6/1 8:35 14th street A/C/E/L station African American man in his 60s I offered him a pair of socks. He said, “Oh my god, that’s a blessing. Let me tell you, a month ago at the Nostrand stop, a woman took off her socks and gave them to me. Can you believe that? Like taking the coat off your back. I wash them everyday and put them in the dryer for 25¢. You saw my need too. Now a month later I have 2 pairs of socks. Thank you. I love you. God bless you.”
-6/2 2:30 pm 11th Street & Broadway 4 people in their late 20s early 30s 1 woman & 3 men They had 2 black and white pit bulls I approached them and said, “Excuse me, would you like some dog food?” One person said, “No ma’am thank you.” But then another person said, “Dog food? Yes I would. My dog isn’t with me but I would like some dog food.” I handed him a packet & explained what’s in there & when I said wet food the rest of the people got so excited, the others wanted packets for their dogs too. They said they don’t get wet food very often & like to mix it in with their dog’s food. There were thank yous all around. 3 dog food packets
7:30 pm 7th Avenue E train station Queens bound platform African American man in his late 60s He was 1/2 naked, had a skin infection, and there was a puddle of vomit under the bench he was on. 2 people gave him food. I gave him a pair of socks. He was clutching them like they were gold.
-6/4 3:17 pm man in his late 60s He was filthy, itchy, filthy feet & he had no socks on. Gave him 1 pair of socks
4:37 World Trade Center bound E train African American man in his 40s He said, “Hello my name is Jacob. I got kicked in the face while I was sleeping and fractured my eye socket….. if anyone could help….” I held out socks saying, “Would you like these, they’re new dry socks.” (it was raining) He gave a small nod & thank you.
-6/9 3:37 pm African American man about 70 years of age He had bad looking feet. He said, “Change please?” I asked him, “Would you like a new pair of socks?” His eyes lit up and he said, “Alright! thank you!”
4:03 pm Horatio Street between Greenwich Washington African American man about 50 years of age He had bad teeth. He said, “Excuse me it’s my birthday & I’m homeless could you help me out.” I replied, “I could give you these- these are new socks, no one’s ever worn them.” He answered, “Ok, alright. Thank you. God bless.” I said, “You’re welcome.”
5:47 pm 6th Avenue and about Waverly or Washington Place. African American woman about 80 years of age She was sitting on a walker and shaking a change cup. I asked her, “Would you like a pair of new socks ma’am?” She. smiled and said, “Yes, thank you.” I said, “Have a good evening.” She replied, “Enjoy your evening. God bless you.” About a month later I saw her & I watched a Caucasian woman only slightly younger than her give her some money and I heard her say, “I wish it was more but I’m on Social Security.”
5:57 pm Sullivan & Bleecker streets African American man in his late 70s He was saying, “Help the homeless please.” Extending my arm, holding out socks I said, “You want these, these are new.” He said, “Sure, thank you.”
-6/10 8:25 pm 2/5 subway station 149th 3rd Avenue Manhattan/Brooklyn bound entrance (Bronx) African American woman in her 60s She was thin and had no teeth I held out socks and said, “Would you like these, these are new.” She held out her hand & made an, “uh huh” sound.
-6/11 4:20 pm African American man in his 60s Spring Street between Thompson and West Broadway I held out socks and asked, “Would you like these, these are new.” He answered, “Oh ok thank you.”
-6/13 1:43 pm African American woman about 60 years of age sitting on a sidewalk saying, “spare change.” She had on no shoes and her socks were dirty, one had a large rip in it. I said, “Would you like a new pair of socks?” She answered, “Thank you. I need them. God bless you.”
8:37 pm African American man in his 50s in front of Union Square North McDonalds I asked him, “Would you like a pair of new socks sir?” He said, “Ok thank you.” I replied, “Have a good night sir.” He answered, “You too.”
-6/14 Caucasian woman in her early 60s She had bad teeth. She was sitting outside of Union Square subway station. She had a sign, “homeless hungry no alcohol lost job” I held out socks and asked, “Would you like these, these are new.” She said, “Yes please. Thank you so much. God bless you.”
-6/16 5:40 pm Park at Hudson and Gansevoort streets Caucasian man & African American woman, both about 40 years of age. They were talking, had a lot of stuff. I said, “Excuse me, could either of you use a new pair of socks?” They answered, “Sure!!!!” Gave them each a pair There were big thank yous, smiles. I saw the man change his socks.
8:32 pm W58th street between 8th & 9th avenues African American man in his 30s I asked him, “Would you like a pair of new socks?” He said, “Socks? Oh sure, thank you!” Big smiles.
-6/18 6:45 pm 101st Street & 1st Avenue Latino man in his 50s He was sitting on the corner. I offered him socks saying, “Would you like like these, these are new.” He nodded & gave a joyful, “thank you!”
-6/19 3:17 pm outside Bedford Avenue L train subway station Latino man in his late 20s I asked him, “Would you like a new pair of socks?” He said, “Thank you,” and gave a little wave.
10th Street & 6th Avenue African American man in his 50s He was sitting on the corner with a change cup. I asked him, “Would you like some new socks?” He gave a slight thank you nod.
-6/21 2:53 pm outside of Columbus Circle subway station African American woman in her 60s I said, “Would you like a pair of new socks ma’am, they’re women’s socks.” She smiled and answered, “That’d be nice. Thank you.”
-6/22 12:59 pm outside of G/L Metropolitan Avenue subway station Caucasian female in her 20s I offered her a packet of 3 menstrual pads. She gave a little shrug and said, “Sure.”
-6/28 Man in his late forties shaking a change cup by the Gristedes on W4th street He was saying, “Something to eat?” I had baklava on me. I said, “This is dessert. It’s new, hasn’t been opened.” He said, “Sure I’ll take it! Thank you! Get home safe!”
-7/5 2:35 pm Prince Street and 6th Avenue African American man in his late 50s He had bad teeth. He was cleaning his feet. I asked him, “Would you like a new pair of socks?” He answered, “Good looking out. Thank you baby.” & he called out, “Thank you miss,” when I was down the block.
2:19pm top of L train steps at 14th Street Union Square subway steps Caucasian woman in her early 20s She had sign reading, “anything helps” I took out a pack of 3 maxi pads and said, “Would this help? Is this something you think you’ll need?” She shook her head no and said, “Thank you.”
-5/30 Union Square East Caucasian man in his late 20s He had a boxer mix I asked if twice if he needed any dog food He shook his head no and said, “No thank you.”
(Date Unknown) 9:13 pm 14th Street Union Square subway station Brooklyn bound N/R/W/Q platform African American woman in her 60s She was pouring water into disposable cups and was using a bar of soap to clean herself. I attempted to give her a bag of toiletries. I said, “Excuse me a friend of mine gave this to me, it has different lotions & soaps.” She answered, “No I cannot use it.”
-6/5 N7th Street & Bedford Avenue 1 pm Caucasian man in his early 30s He had a herding dog mix. I asked him, “Would you like some dog food? I have wet, dry…” He answered, “I have a lot of dog food actually.” I replied, “Ok.” He said, “Thank You though.” I said, “Hi cutie,” to the dog.
-6/16 5:45 pm Jane & Greenwich Streets African American man in his 30s It was hot and he had a lot of clothes on and he was going through trash cans. I said with socks in my hand, “Excuse me, would you like these? These are new.” He answered, “No thank you.”
-6/19 8:07 pm Outside of Columbus Circle subway station Caucasian man about 70 years of age It was raining & he was tying bags around his feet. I said to him, “Would you like a pair of new dry socks?” He replied, “I’m ok thank you.”
*personal fail-I had lunch with a couple of friends in June. One of my friends did not finish his food & did not want to take it to go. I didn’t even think to take it because it was meat and I’m a vegan. But then I saw a person I could’ve given it to. Note to self for the future.
Donations and *Special Delivery/Special Edition* Donations
-Previous donor Karin Kiontke donated a pair of socks and hygiene items including toothbrushes & floss. The toothbrushes and floss have since been donated to The Kensington Family Shelter in Brooklyn, NY.
-A very cool couple, Chandler & Andrew, gave me 2 bags of cat treats
-A friend who wishes to remain anonymous donated $200. When that happened I felt overwhelmed, emotional, and grateful. Charlotte Dion donated $20 and I received $45 from Jenna Spevack. There are still a little bit of funds left, but so far this is where most of that $ has gone to:
-Partially financing a wheelchair for a person in Mexico: http://arsobo.org/our-projects/all-terrain-wheelchair/
What I wrote on FB about that:
The root of Simple As Socks (SAS) will always be the Socks but if you’ve been following it you know I expanded to try to help the needs-health & well being of people beyond that.
I think one of the reasons I really got into the socks was because I walk everywhere. My mobility is key for my life.
When I heard about ARSOBO, building these all terrain wheelchairs for people in Mexico that were going through their lives without, I really wanted to contribute to that. I felt that importance of giving people their freedom, their mobility.
-Purchasing more socks
-Mailing the toothbrushes & floss to the Kensington Family Shelter
-I was made aware of a woman taking care of a large amount of feral cats in Flatbush, Brooklyn. I mailed her all of the cat food I had.
-CHIPS Soup Kitchen in Brooklyn, NY put out a call for needing oven mitts. I went to Gristedes on W4th Street in Manhattan & purchased oven mitts there with some of this $. I delivered them in person.
-A few ballet shoes were purchased for ProDanza Dance School in Cuba http://altruvistas.com/prodanza-dance-school-in-cuba-needs-ballet-shoes/
There is no place in Cuba to buy ballet shoes and their funding is minimal. They were very thankful for the shoes. Again, not disability but along the lines of the giving of full mobility, optimal functionality for the best life possible
My grandma, Jean Booth, donated a packet of socks. Dear friend Joanna DeAngelis donated a pair of socks. & of course Charlotte Dion donated socks because she’s unstoppable. Un-sock-able!
Luis from Beasty Feast on Hudson between Horatio and Jane Streets donated a bag of pet food and then again pet food samples.
Amy Aversa donated 2 packs of Natracare menstrual pads.
Both Amy and friend Whitney who works at DoggyStyle on University between 9th & 10th Streets, both ladies alerted me to some pet food at a store Amy is friendly with, Trixie’s, & at Doggystyle. But I advised both women about donating it to Mighty Mutts.
I have some thoughts for packets, special things. Right now I have enough pet food, and menstrual products. So until a future blog post where I make a specific request, at this time socks only please. Thank You!
-In The News:
-The saga on the Crown Heights shelter continues, days after 10 families moved in a judge puts a restraining order on more being able to:
-BuzzFeed ran a story on a barber using a trailer to give homeless LGBT youth haircuts
-I saw this viral story on Facebook for the first time, a child asking for money from passing cars in Nairobi, the person he saw inside the car, his reaction, and how their lives changed:
-and then of course there was the viral story of the homeless men helping victims during the Manchester attack
Both of those stories get to my emotional side of doing this project. It makes me think of lots of individual thoughts/reminders/words of wisdom I’ve had run through my head, but all at once.
I think of the Xhosa people and how they don’t believe in alone. That everyone is responsible for each other. I think of Desmond Tutu’s words, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” It reminds me of things I pep myself up with. I daily ask myself, “What have you done today to make yourself feel proud?” Sometimes I get shy or nervous approaching someone and I tell myself if something is in my way to push it out of the way, and that includes myself. (For goodness sakes Victoria, you think it’s difficult to go up to someone? How difficult is it for them to go up to you???) I think of gong meditation and how we end a session by saying, “I see your need.”
The other day a friend of mine said to me (talking about a completely different subject) how sometimes he feels like he knows nothing. And I related that statement to this. Not knowing is good. Dropping your preconceived ideas allows you to see the reality. The more I do this work the less I know-it’s a gift.
-Continuing with the news:
Ben Carson’s whopper of an idea on how one’s mindset contributes to and relieves them from poverty. Aren’t we all so happy he’s at the helm of Housing and Urban Development
Of course having a good mindset is helpful. Note all the things I wrote prior. But that isn’t enough. Life happens. Tragedy happen-death, illness, job loss, fire. Sometimes life does not give a fuck about your plans. & think about your life & all the coaching you have to do for yourself just as it is. Now compound it with said tragedies or if you are already homeless you have to 1st dig yourself out of hunger, hygiene loss, exhaustion, and so forth before you can do your mantras. Aside, that is not a tangible solution-upping your mindset-for someone in Ben Carson’s position to give.
-Poly Prep spotlighting an alumni who has done work for food pantries and affordable housing in the Hamptons, an area where some may not have envisioned the need:
-From WNYC, making cooling centers more visible: http://www.wnyc.org/story/new-yorks-underused-cooling-centers-get-higher-profile/
-From the Huffington Post, a cop beating a homeless woman for impersonating an officer and resisting arrest. I really don’t care about that. Can’t he comprehend she is not mentally sound? Look at the size of him compared to the size of her.
-Other important news items of getting things where they need to go:
-Through the end of the month the National Suit Drive is happening. If you have a suit you’re not using you can donate it to someone entering the workforce:
-Free breakfasts and lunches are available at this summer for NYC children through The SchoolFood program.
-Heard through the grapevine:
-I ran into an acquaintance of mine, Sherry, this past late spring/early summer. She has a young daughter. She told me that her daughter has been reading the blog & is inspired to take up some of this task of giving. That really got to me. I didn’t even know Sherry, let alone her daughter, knew about my blog. It made me feel successful. Is that vanity? Me being jerky? I just felt like my tiny bit planting seeds in a young mind was more than I could ask for.
-I was on the C train and scowling about that. because I wanted the 1 train but it wasn’t running due to a power failure (I need not say more if you’re a fellow MTA commuter) but sometimes the wrong path is the right one. Had I not been on that train I wouldn’t have witnessed a very frail 80 something year old African American woman wearing a hospital bracelet get on & sit down next to a Caucasian woman in her early 50s. The ride went on for awhile. Several stops along, I couldn’t hear what she said, but I knew the elderly woman commented on the other’s groceries. The woman in her 50s gave her a new box of cereal. They conversed for a bit & before the Caucasian woman got off the train she tried to give her the milk she had as well. But the senior woman declined & said she couldn’t carry it. She did give her $2. We got off the same stop & I said to her that was a really nice thing she did & a lot of people would not have done that. She answered, “It’s just milk.” & she sadly said, “She couldn’t carry it.”
-Comedian Steve Hughes did a bit about homeless people. He spoke on how some people will say they do not give to individuals but rather to a charity under the premise, “this way they know where their $ is going.” To which Steve responded-no you don’t. That he’s the one who knows where his money is going- to such and such person. Then this would be met with a moral high ground attitude of well, what are they going to spend it on? And then Steve would retort, well what would you have spent it on? Or what would he have spent it on?
-Also on the C train, interesting people watching: 1 right after the other walked through the door connecting cars. 1st was one of the people that gives out free sandwiches to anyone that wants. Right behind him was a man about to ask for change, help. He was so pissed that the sandwich person was in front of him & he quickly changed cars.
-What to say & what not to say:
So it’s one thing to say it to me, but things not to say to a person you may be offering an item to should you do this on your own:
I have an old….
I got this and I didn’t like it…….
Wording like this reminds me of Seinfeld when Elaine was leaving muffin stumps by a homeless shelter and the director of the shelter got heated with her saying something like, “I know what you thought. They’re homeless. They’ll eat anything!”
Your words might be the few, maybe the only conversation they get that day. You want to make your speech as gracious, dignified, and humanizing as possible. Because most of the people you will encounter, 90% of their interactions are the opposite, chipping away at their self worth. The socks, food, etc. are more than just the physical item. It’s the care behind them what matters.
-Adding it all up
So I’ve once again gone through my writings & to the best of my ability-this is where we’re at thus far. I would give it a #5 margin of error on any listing. When it comes to age and ethnicity, sometimes I recorded both for a person, sometimes only 1 of those facts, and sometimes neither. But it’s what I have.
-Socks given out alone: 309 pairs
-64 pairs of socks sent to Louisiana flood victims
-4 pairs of socks sent to Standing Rock Water Protectors
-5 menstrual packets created in memory of late friend Jamie Greaney (contained a mixture of pads & tampons)
-6 pet food packets
-8 things of toothpaste
-4 valentines of mixed vegan candy
-14 combined socks & crackers packets
-Box sent to Rieti, Italy for earthquake victims. It contained 4 pairs of gloves, Bag of individually sealed feminine hygiene products, 7 pairs of socks
-Box sent to Friends of Humanity for Haiti for Hurricane Matthew victims. It contained 3 packages of 32 ultra thin maxi pads and 5 boxes of toothpaste
-Box sent to NuDay Syria, supplies to Syrian refugees It contained box of 32 ultra thin maxi pads, 18 pairs of socks, 3 pairs of gloves
-1 thing of mozzarella cheese
-1 thing of vegan blue cheese & celery
-1 candy bar
-1 dog water
-1 nut butter packet
-1 thing of grapes
-3 bags of chips
-1 pair of boots
-3 hand warmers
-2 things of candy
-1 thing of cookies
-1 pair of gloves
-3 things of dog food
-1 thing of dog treats
-1 packet of 3 menstrual pads
-6 oven mitt/pot mitt sets to Chips Soup Kitchen
-10 toothbrushes & 4 flosses sent to the Kensington Family Shelter
-5 pairs of ballet shoes sent to ProDanza dance school in Cuba
-5 senior citizen packs. Each contained: A puzzle book, 2 pens, wipes, tissues, 4 Ricolas, handful of Werthers, 2 vitamin C packets, lotion, lip balm
-Partial funding, more than 1/3rd, of a wheelchair for an individual in Mexico
-Box of canned, dry, and treats- cat food, sent to a woman in Flatbush, Brooklyn caring for a large amount of feral cats
African American men: 102
African American women: 28
Latino men: 40
Latina women: 11
Caucasian men: 71
Caucasian women: 30 (5 Pregnant)
Asian women: 1
South East Asian men: 2
1 Latino transman
1 African American transwoman
8 Latino Children
2 African American children
8 children, 6 Latino & 2 African American