When Josh was 9 years old, he was in the city of Melbourne with his family, he walked past a homeless man.
Josh commented that he looked sad cold and was obverse hungry and lonely. He was begging for money or food. Josh did not know what to do or where to look. He asked his mum what he should do, and so his mother gave him some money.
Josh decided to do some research on the internet and find what was the biggest need of homeless people. He was shocked because he thought their biggest need would be a house. It was not.
It was being safe.
The second biggest need was being warm: they found it hard keeping their feet warm.
A lot of people give away coats they no longer need or don’t fit, but you don’t give away your old socks – you usually throw them in the bin.
Josh’s research led me on how many homeless people there were in Victoria. There were 23,000 homeless people. Josh thought perhaps I could collect socks so that every homeless person in Victoria could have 2 pairs of socks each. 1 pair to wear and 1 pair to put on and a dry clean pair.
"I started collecting 50,000 pairs of socks and named my project 2 Pairs Each. I made up flyers and then letterbox our street and the 2 streets each side of ours. "
Josh then advertised on the local Facebook page and a lot of people responded.
Josh was fortunate to have help from members of the local community,
- Delivery of 4,600 flyers to all the letterboxes in Mt Eliza where Josh and his family lives.
- Printing of the black and white flyers. The cost of Color flyers was cost-prohibitive and could not afford that
- Donation of $250 from the local Pharmacy to purchase socks
- Collection box at the local pharmacy to collect new socks
Josh also wrote to all the ski resorts and asked them if they could donate their lost property to the homeless. Mt Buller Mt Sterling Resort Management was the only ski mountain that said yes.
Josh wrote to a number of sporting venues, including the MCG about donating their lost property. The MCG was more than happy to assist and every 3 months they contacted Josh to come and pick up their lost property. Other community members have also donated blankets, sleeping bags, scarves and warm coats.
To date, Josh has given away 3,100 items of blankets and warm clothing to the homeless.
Josh is proud to report that he has collected socks from family and friends and from a lot of people I do not even know, including 2 pairs sent to me from Germany.
-As of his last update (12/8/20) The current number of brand new socks handed out to those in need has reached: 29,524 pairs!
Prior to COVID 19, Josh would visit Frankston, St Kilda and Dandenong and give the socks and clothing away at Food Vans. This was usually at 7pm at night when homeless people came to that place to get a free hot meal.
Josh also would help serve the meals and chat to the people while they are eating their meal and he gave out the socks and warm clothes.
When Josh receives socks from people, he posts a photo on the Facebook page and thank the person or organisation.
Josh also sends the donor a thank you letter. If they are an organisation or school, he will make up a certificate for them.
Josh sorts the socks and delivers the socks to various organisations who give out the socks to the homeless people. Josh is trying to spread the socks around Victoria so homeless people everywhere in Victoria can get socks.
The following organisations are those that he assists with socks to:
Back 2 Basics Melbourne,
The Salvation Army,
Community Support Frankston,
Mums Supporting Families in Need,
RDNS Homeless Persons Support Nurses.
There are 42 nurses all throughout Melbourne who are employed specifically to help the homeless.
"Before I started this venture of obtaining and giving out socks, if a homeless person needed socks, these nurses purchased the socks out of their own money as there was no money in the budget for socks."
Josh only collects and give out brand new socks.
"I want to keep going until I can collect and give away 50,000 pairs of socks. I have collected over 58% of my goal."
During COVID-19, Josh has not been able to go to schools and groups and talk about his sock collecting and the homeless. Though he is continuing to put posts of facebook, send thank you letters, puts photos on Fb of the socks he receives, sorts out the socks into female, male and children piles. He is supported by his mum by going to the various charities to deliver the socks. When he receives cash, he goes online and buys socks that are on sale. Josh is proud to say, every sent he receives goes on sock purchases.
Josh is now researching grants that are available and talking to sock manufacturers to see if he can get any socks cheaper through them.
-Josh is currently doing his bronze Award through the AAFC in Victoria.