Do you have a spare pair on socks that you can donate to Socks and Chocs to help homeless people in London? Millie Dessent, BSc International Relations 2018, is volunteering for the organisation and doing a sock collection at LSE. If you do have a few pairs of clean socks bring them to outside the ARC on Floor 1 of SAW to put them in our collection box. Millie has written the following blog for us about why she was urged to take action.
Having moved from a tiny town to the city last year I found it hard to consume the numbers of people who call London’s streets their home. I admit it led me to avoid eye contact and keep steadily to my side of the pavement, not out of prejudice or disrespect, but guilt and helplessness.
On my walk to university I often saw the same people in the same places and the fact that I never spared any change made me feel like just another passer by, too busy in my own world to notice. I justified it like this: I’m a student, I live in London, I’m not made of money. It never occurred to me that money was just half of it.
I now live in a rented flat near Liverpool Street with 2 flatmates who also go to LSE. Our flats have external stairs which anyone can get into and they often take the form of someone’s home. Coming back to London after Christmas, winter unleashed its lowest temperatures so far and we were traumatised when our boiler broke on the same day that snow hit the Strand. The morning after, on my way to uni again, I saw a guy taking shelter on the stairs and noticed his socks were holy and worn and his feet rather blue. In the newspaper that weekend I read an article about the importance of socks for a life on the move and it struck me that this was a really simple item, of which I seemed to have a large number lurking in the bottom of my drawers.
After doing some internet research I discovered a great charity called Socks and Chocs. Their ethos is as simple as the socks themselves: that a lot of people doing a little is better than a few people doing a lot. Although the socks and emergency foot care they provide are massive relievers of the hardship and distress experienced by those who are homeless and living in adverse housing conditions, they are also facilitators to something bigger. Starting conversations, breaking down social barriers and tackling stigma are the positive side effects that can come with donating your second- hand socks.
This is why I have decided to ask LSE students and staff to donate as many clean pairs as possible. Hopefully, we can walk past our local homeless people in our local neighbourhoods knowing that we are part of a lot of people doing a little to something help. Please bring your socks to LSE Careers Reception by the end of Student Volunteering Week (26 February).