– Where I started giving out socks and having them in mycar so when people come to ask me at a stop light for change that I give them socks instead and that it's amazing when people's face light up that particularlywhen it's raining out and they're standing there, and that I had a woman tell me that she was so excited to get them, because her socks were wet, and she needed to go change them, and that it makes me feel good that it makes a little bitof difference in their day and gives me a reason to talk to them, because I know that most people don't.
– Hi, my name is Mark, and I'm the founder of Invisible People.
I'm pretty sure I wasn't the first guy that ever handed outsocks to homeless people, but I can almost guaranteethat there's nobody that has handed out as manysocks to as many homeless people in as many cities and asmany countries as I have.
In the last 10 years, I havetraveled to over 300 cities and eight differentcountries handing out socks and making new homeless friends.
Now, there's a couple of reasons why handing out socks is so important.
First, it's a real need.
So many people go out and hand out food.
Socks is something thathomeless people don't often get.
Or they're getting sandwiches all day long but it's very rare thatpeople go and hand out socks.
So there's this nonverbalconnection that says, “Ah, you know, you care.
” But probably most importantis that socks are a real need to people who areexperiencing homelessness.
Imagine that all you haveto store your clothes on is your backpack that you carry all day, so you have maybe a couple pairs of jeans, maybe a couple of shirts, maybea couple pairs of underwear, and some socks, and they get dirty.
They get dirty fast.
What happens is homelesspeople can wash their feet, but often they have toput back on dirty socks.
– I've been wearing thesame socks for over a week, and I haven't had replacementsand I do wash my feet, but the old socks gotta go back on, because I don't wannaget fungus and all that on the bottom of my feet.
You know? So when you're living in the street, you can't take off your shoes, because you wake up without 'em.
People will steal your shoes.
– [Mark] Socks are like gold? – Yeah, they're gold.
– Another reason to giveout socks is it feels good.
It feels good helping somebody else.
Sometimes when I'm feelingdown or a little depressed, I will fill my backpack witha couple of bags of socks, and go out and hand themout to homeless people and make some new friends.
My problems don't go away butI get this new perspective that really helps me deal with life, and I guarantee whenyou're giving other people the gift of brand new, fresh socks, you're gonna get all kindsof amazing responses back from smiles to jumps for joy.
I even had a homeless youth once yell, “White gold!” And you will be recharged and refreshed.
– You guy were gracious enough to give me a brand new pair of socks, which I'm gonna be so happy to put on, 'cause they'll be snugly and clean, and they'll cling to my footlike socks are supposed to, and thank you so much.
– [Mark] Well, when's the lasttime you changed your socks? – It's been a couple weeks.
I washed them out.
Actually, he washed themout for me and dried 'em, and they were hard and yucky, so I get to put theseon brand new (laughs).
– [Mark] Hard and yucky? – Yeah.
– So here are some tips on how to give out socksto homeless people.
The number one question I get is what kind of socks do I buy and what kind of socks do I give away and what kind of socksdo homeless people need? The number one sock you should buy are men's white, white crew sock.
Men's white crew sock.
Don't buy the no shows.
Don't buy tube socks.
Don't buy ankle socks.
And don't buy black sock.
People prefer whitesocks over black socks.
Occasionally, I will takeblack socks and white socks with me and give people a choice.
99 out of 100 times, a homelessperson will say white socks.
I also recommend Hanes socks.
Now, in full disclosure, Hanes occasionally hires me as a consultant and Hanes gives me socks, but I am not being compensatedfor this video whatsoever.
I am doing this, becauseHanes is the best sock for you to buy to give to homeless people, and there's a couple reasons for that.
Hanes is a wonderful, comfortablesock at an amazing price.
There's a lot of buyone give one brands out for the cost of one sock.
For one of the buy one give one brands, you can buy 12 pairs of Hanes socks.
Or at Walmart, you can get deals like this where you get 13 pair, soyou can give out 6 pairs of socks and keep 6 pairsof socks if you wanted to.
Or you could give outall 12 pairs of socks for the price of one pair of sock.
I want homeless people to have socks.
I want them to have quality socks.
So that's why I recommend Hanes.
They're available in Walmarts, and there's Walmarts in every city.
I have to tell you.
When I go to another countrythat Hanes are not so common, people on the streets are blown away.
They're like, “Oh my gosh, these are so comfortable.
“These are amazing socks.
” I've given lots of different socks away, different colors, different sizes.
Hanes is the best sock, the best sock for the money for you and for homeless people.
If you don't feel safe, don't engage with someone.
Now, this is not just homelessness.
We live in a really scary world.
If you don't feel comfortable, don't go down that street.
If you don't feel comfortablewhen somebody tries to panhandle, don't engageand give them socks.
You have to feel safe andcomfortable wherever you are.
Your safety comes first.
I also try to give every homelessperson two pairs of socks.
Sometimes that's not possible.
If I walk into a groupthat's rather large, then maybe I'll go downto one pair of sock.
If the group is way too big, I may not even give socks at all because when I went to school, the teacher said if youdon't have enough gum to give to everybody in theclass, don't bring it out.
So I go by that rule.
One of the things that I findinteresting is that often when I'm handing outsocks to homeless people, they will only take one pair.
They want another pairto go to somebody else.
Occasionally, which is really rare, somebody will ask for more.
Or they'll say, “Hey, mygirlfriend is down here.
“Can I give them?” I don't.
They have to be right in front of me.
I give them two pairs, everybody, two pairs of socks whenever I can.
There's a lot of different waysthat you can hand out socks.
You can, like me, carrysocks in your backpack.
Maybe carry a couple pairs inyour purse or your briefcase.
You can keep a couple ofpairs in your glove box for when you're at that exit ramp and there's a homeless person, and maybe the light turns red, or there's a stop sign, andit's really a little awkward.
Well, you could take that awkward moment and turn it into something wonderful by handing the homeless person some socks.
I often get asked by people, “There's a homelessperson in my neighborhood.
“I see 'em, I walk by 'em.
“I want to know his story.
” Well, a great way to breakthe ice is giving some socks, and then listening.
When I give somebody a pair of socks, I try to make conversation.
Little trick I use is that Icompliment them on something.
Maybe it's their jacket.
Maybe it's their hair.
Maybe it's their hat.
Maybe it's their bicycle.
But, I usually start offand I walk up and I say, “Hi, how you doing? “Would you like some socks?” And if it's not a homeless person, they'll be like, “Get out of here.
” If it's a homeless person, you're gonna see them immediately start glowing with gratitude.
The reaction it's when youoffer a homeless person socks, are I often laugh and Ifeel bad because I laugh, but I so enjoy their response.
I mean, it's almostpredictable that I know they're going to respondin some joyful way, but I never know exactly howthat response is gonna be.
So I chuckle sometimes.
So after I meet a new homelessperson and have some socks, I might say, “Wow, that'sa really nice hat.
” And then I start conversation.
Now, maybe they are not very sociable.
Or maybe they're focusedon something else, and this is not a homeless thing.
I mean, you can go into work and your coworker mighthave got a flat tire or a fight with his wife andthey don't wanna talk either.
Remember, homelessness is horrible.
So people might not be in a social mood.
Or maybe there's mentalillness or some drugs involved.
So at that moment, you'll knowif that person has a wallop and doesn't wanna talk orthey'll give you an opening and say, “Thank you.
“Thank you for commenting on my hat.
” And then you can juststart on some small talk and make a new friend.
Also, a great way to engage community into charity work anda learning experience, let's say you're a church or a youth group or maybe a Rotary club or a school, starting a sock drive andmaybe connecting to one of the local shelters or homeless services is a great way to engagecommunity and learn about homelessness and provide a need and help people all at the same time.
I know people that keepsocks in their briefcase, in their backpacks, in their glove box.
I know people that go outin groups to hand out socks.
There's really no right or wrong way.
Whatever works for you.
The only rule is the law of the street, which is respect everybody.
If you respect people, homeless or not, they're gonna respect you back.
And that's the same thing whenyou're out giving out socks.
Treat them as you wouldwant to be treated yourself and you'll get that respect back.
And it will be an awesome experience.
The number one rule:if you don't feel safe, don't engage with people.
That's not just homeless people.
If you don't feel safe, don't engage.
Number two: the sock thatyou should buy to give out to homeless people or to giveto your local church or school for a sock drive, men's white crew sock.
No other sock.
Now, I recommend Hanes, becausethey're an amazing value and a wonderful sock, butyou can grab whatever sock is available at whatever store you go to.
Again, men's white crew sock.
It can't go wrong.
Number three: I alwaystry to give two socks to every homeless person.
It doesn't always work out that I can give two pairs of socks, butthat is what I shoot for.
And last but far from least is have fun.
Some of the most amazingmoments of my adult life has been out on the streetswith a backpack full of socks making new homeless friends.
Helping somebody in crisiswith something so simple as a pair of new socksmakes you feel grateful for what you have, becausewhen you hand them new socks, you're gonna see amazingsmiles, shouts for joy, and you're just gonna go, “Wow, my life, I was upset “about this today, andthis person is happy just “because they got new socks.
” It's an amazing experience.
This is my first attemptat trying a how-to video.
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