Who says socks have to come in pairs?
Certainly not the new sock company OneTo Celebrate which donated 150 single socks with several black-and-white designs to the Los Angeles LGBT Center.
The eye-catching socks are now among the items inside a clothing closet for LGBT youth experiencing homelessness. The socks were delivered stored inside two specially-designed drawers at the Center’s Youth Center and will be refilled by the company as the supply dwindles.
“Once we found out that socks are the most needed clothing item, we decided to donate to the Center where LGBTQ people come,” explains company founder Philia Beroud. “They each have their own personality and style. Socks do not want to be paired. That’s why they get lost. They are the underdog of fashion and we are using them as a vehicle to talk about issues we have in society like non-acceptance and non-inclusion.”
With each sock a customer “adopts” from the company’s website (they cost $12 each), another is donated “to a homeless LGBTQ spirit who is in need of clean socks and has been abandoned for being different.”
Each month the Center sees approximately 300 individual youth experiencing homelessness. Many are on a waiting list for shelter (there are only 65 beds for emergency and temporary shelter) and come to the Youth Center for meals, showers, clothing and laundry, and various programs and services.
Beroud recently delivered the socks and the drawers to the Center accompanied by a sock puppet named O. So. Handsome, described as vice president and “right hand” of the company.
Weeks before making the initial sock donation, OneTo Celebrate organized a queer puppet workshop at the Center where some of the youth transformed socks into sock puppets.
“It was amazing to see how creative the kids were,” Beroud says. “It was wonderful to see their minds be taken off their troubles and to not worry and to express themselves and their creativity. It put a smile on their face.”
Beroud became aware of the Center and its work on behalf of LGBT youth when it was featured on Ellen Page’s Emmy-nominated documentary series Gaycation.
“I went online to learn more about the Center and saw that they need socks and that was it,” she says. “We invite the youth here at the Center to see the message that we celebrate difference. This is something we hope resonates.”