Lisa Gurwitch, president and ceo of Delivering Good.

SOCK IT TO ME: K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers and the American Apparel & Footwear Association joined forces to supply one million pairs of socks to the nation’s homeless and poor in honor of World Homeless Day, which is being observed today. The socks will be distributed at shelters throughout the country for individuals without a home or access to clean, new clothing. Donations began today and continue throughout the next 12 months. To date, companies such as DSW Inc., GBG Socks LLC/Planet Sox, Gold Medal International, No Nonsense, Renfro Corp., TTI Global Resources, and United Legwear & Apparel Co., among others, have committed more than 500,000 pairs of socks to people in need. AAFA and K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers continue to seek donations from additional companies to reach their goal of one million pairs of socks.

Initial distributions are planned for New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and North Carolina.

“Over the next few months, we will be distributing the socks as they are donated, supporting many communities nationwide in their efforts to help homeless and poverty-stricken people,” said Lisa Gurwitch, president and chief executive officer of K.I.D.S./Fashion Delivers. “In addition, donor companies will engage employees to visit local agencies and personally give socks to the people in need.”

Rick Helfenbein, president and ceo of AAFA, said, “When our legwear members challenged us to help raise one million pairs of socks for the homeless, the stakes were high but the potential impact even greater. Thinking that a warm pair of socks can make a difference with her person that we touch, AAFA is working hard to help make this program a huge success.”

Isaac E. Ash, president and ceo of United Legwear & Apparel Co., challenged industry colleagues to donate more than what they might normally allocated to charities at a recent AAFA Legwear Committee meeting.  “We all have so much to give, and pooling resources will get more product to people. It can also call attention to these often-forgotten populations as weather becomes colder,” he said.

According to agencies that support homeless and the needy, socks and underwear are among the most requested, non-consumable items because they must be purchased brand new, unlike coats that are regularly donated secondhand.