As October comes to a close, I am excited to announce the progress and conclusion of #Socktober. This year, we hoped to raise 300 pairs of socks between all five of my classes. From engaging in this fundraiser the past two years, I knew that if I set the bar high enough we would all pull together and reach our goal. It was slow the first two weeks, but with one trip to the swap meet at Ventura College, plus the resilience of the students, we ended up gathering 357 pairs of socks to distribute to Help of Ojai and Casa Pacifica in Ventura.
This year’s fundraiser taught me a lot about our ability to empathize and help out others. My major learning experience occurred last Friday evening. I was amped up from school that day, so I decided to ask some friends about donating to #Socktober. I planned on going to the swap meet the following morning, and I figured this would be a way to scrounge up some last minute cash. I first pitched #Socktober at dinner to two of my buddies, then to two other couples over drinks afterwards. I told them about the importance of #Socktober and how we can get into the habit of consistently helping others- especially in Ventura County. Most of my friends had no problem giving a few dollars, but this one individual was adamant about giving me used socks. He couldn’t understand why an organization that works with the homeless wouldn’t take his practically useful worn socks.
This individual is the wealthiest one in our seven-unit apartment complex. We’ve been friends since I first moved in. I know he is a good man; I’ve seen him do nice things for people he knows. Yet, he did not want to contribute. That truly stuck with me. I asked myself, why would someone who has the ability to make a difference decide to look the other way? Then I thought of how we all are guilty of this to some extent. Whether this is towards the growing homeless population, or the catastrophic drought California currently faces. On a smaller scale, this can be seen through our daily interactions with one another. How often do we walk past someone we know is hurting? How often do we stop to listen to someone who just needs to be heard? Sometimes those opportunities to help are right in front of us, it is just up to us to recognize them and do what we can to lend a helping hand.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, there will be families all over the country who will struggle to put food on the table. Some will have a hard time buying their sons or daughters warm clothes. We can make a difference, so I implore all of us to think about our role in society and see what we can do to make even the smallest of changes to make the world a kinder, more compassionate place.
#Socktober Project- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1YIK5UOnOM
Casa Pacifica- http://www.casapacifica.org/
Help of Ojai- http://www.helpofojai.org/