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PLNU sock drive provides for homeless over the holidays

Since Nov. 18, the Homeless Ministries have been gathering socks and monetary donations in partnership with Project Homeless Connect and have collected 155 pairs of socks and $190 in donations, according to Dana Hojsack.

The sock drive ran until Dec. 2, according to Michael Freed, director of Homeless Ministries. Half of the socks were sent to Project Homeless Connect, and the other half will be distributed throughout the year by the ministries.

“We’ve found in previous years that it’s not as effective to ask for all the items that Homeless Connect is looking for and we wanted to have just one item for students to focus on,” Freed said. “Most students would be willing to pay for socks, it’s like ‘I can do that.’ It’s easy enough to give up and to make a difference.”

Despite San Diego’s temperate climate, socks are a valuable commodity among the homeless because they are so easily soiled or worn out. According to Freed, socks are among the first items that homeless individuals will ask for.

The socks and donations collected during the drive will be shared with the San Diego Housing Commission’s Project Homeless Connect, an annual event that offers social and medical services for the homeless at Golden Hall on the San Diego Concourse. This year, students from PLNU volunteered to serve at the event.

“We were assigned a client, a homeless person, to hang out with and assist through the various stations within the convention center in Downtown San Diego,” Kayla Cook, a senior political science major and volunteer at Project Homeless Connect, said in an email. “I got to meet some very kind and friendly individuals, many of whom were typically showing me around. I had the opportunity to talk with them, eat with them, hear their stories, and establish a brief relationship.”

Cook said she was profoundly impacted by her experience at the event, especially the appreciation that the attendants showed for simple questions like how their day was.

“I wish I had known about this two years ago, when I first transferred here,” Cook said. “It was literally one of the best experiences I’ve had since coming to PLNU.”

Hojsack said this event gives PLNU students a way to help its neighbors and allow even those outside ministry to get involved for the season.

“This is a great event to try to support because they bring 60 plus agencies together under one roof for the day to serve the needs of our homeless neighbors,” said Hojsack. “We’re always looking for ways to get the student population involved in student ministries…We realize not everyone is part of a homeless ministry, but this is a tangible way that everyone can be a part of it.”