Help with sock donations

A friend of mine and fellow writer, D. T. Friedman volunteers at a non-profit organization and needs your help. Specifically, your socks.


Hi there!

I’m the Resource Coordinator for a non-profit organization that works with homeless and indigent teenagers, as well as teens who are in bad home situations. OxenFree is a really fantastic program that engages at-risk teens through punk rock music, and provides support in a drug-free and alcohol-free environment.

The reason I’m invading blogs today? My job with OxenFree is to receive requests from the phenomenal people who run the program, and to figure out a way to fill them. My current assignment is…SOCKS. And I have to admit, I’m a bit at a loss. Socks are not a large-volume item at clothing centers (people usually just wear them out instead of donating them), and they’re surprisingly expensive. Homeless teenagers, especially hitchhikers, go through socks like you wouldn’t believe. My friend Margie can no longer afford to keep stocking her “free socks” drawer by herself, and asked me if I could try working my magic.

So, would you be willing to help me sock my punks?

If so, thank you in advance! Thank you so much! Any donation is welcome (supplies only, please) at the following address:

OxenFree Donations
4922 E. New York St.
Indianapolis, IN 46201

Toothbrushes, toothpaste, and tampons are also very useful and hard-to-come-by items.

If shipping to Indiana is too expensive, it would totally rock MY socks off if you considered donating to a similar program in your own city. At-risk teens are everywhere. They’re really neat people, and doing tiny things to help them out has an incredible effect.

Thank you so much, again, for your time, attention and consideration!

D. T. Friedman

Because D.T. doesn’t have a website, I’ve offered to let her use the comment thread of this post to answer questions. Meanwhile, pass the word and send socks.

Did you know you can support Mary Robinette on Patreon?
Become a patron at Patreon!

46 thoughts on “Help with sock donations”

    1. Hi!

      Do you still need socks and other stuff? Or are you drowning in them like Captain Kirk in tribbles? If would like some more, I can post some off along with some other stuff!


  1. Next question-

    All NYC sock donors, would you be interested in sending a big box all together, and going in on shipping? If mismatched socks are OK, I bet I can get a bunch.

  2. I feel like hand-knitted socks are awesome, if someone is willing to put in the time and effort. I understand that another friend of mine posted this message on a knitters’ website called Ravelry, and it’s possible that some knitters will be contributing some handmade socks as well.

    I’m so excited about how enthusiastic everyone seems to be about this! You all rock my world!

  3. To the anonymous Amazon Sock Donor:

    Your socks have been received and distributed, and are VERY much appreciated! Stephen, Margie and I would like to thank you on behalf of the happy newly-socked punks. 😀

  4. What a great idea. Socks on the way from Amazon, including some red ones I couldn’t resist (hopefully they’re punk-compatible for someone). 🙂

  5. I went for white crew, they’re easy enough to dye for extra punk compatibility, also sent along toothbrushes, toothpaste and tampons. Amazons says some of the order will be in separate boxes and some will be two day and others 3-5 day. Just saw the post on BoingBoing, so you’ll probably have a flood of Boingers here.

  6. Pingback: Punks need socks in Indiana | The Current Buzz - Tech

  7. You are in luck since you are in Indianapolis! There is a very large Catholic presence and churches are extremely willing to host clothing drives, food drives, etc. I would go to every Catholic Church in your area and talk with the priest or whoever runs their charitable programs. If you puta box in the narthex of a couple churches that said “please give socks to teens that need them” you would end up with a lot. This is especially true coming into the Thanksgiving/Christmas season which is a big time for donations.

    I would suggest St. Monica’s @ Michigan and Fox Hill Dr., St. Thomas Aquinas @ 46th and Illinois, St. Joan of Arc @ 42nd and Central,Immaculate Heart of Mary @ 57th and Central and St Luke’s Church @ 75th and Holiday Dr.

    Those are just the ones I know personally that have good communities and are willing to give charity. Also, further out the churches in Carmel are big donaters.

    Just contact the parish priest and let them know what you need and what you are about. If you need help with any of the parishes listed above I also know some of their priests (Monica’s, Joan of Arc’s, and St. Luke’s) personally. Several of those churches are also affiliated with parochial schools which also are good places to get donations. I would definitely ingratiate yourself with their parent networks if you are looking for good donations.

    The other place that I can almost assure you to look is at Brebeuf High School. They have a very active community service part of the student body and are always looking for projects to help. I could very directly help you get volunteers and donations there. that is the contact info for their community service office.

    If you need any help contacting these organizations please let me know my email is fischer dot a at gmail dot com.

  8. Thanks for the post. D.T., you’re an inspiration. I’ve done a bit of similar work myself, and it’s always amusing to see the looks on the faces of Walmart employees when I load ALL of their socks into a cart.

    I try to get brand new socks because putting on a new pair of socks is a really good feeling emotionally, they’re comfortable, and they last longer. If nothing else, it gives a slightly greater feeling of dignity, to have any kind of fresh clothes.

    It seems pretty silly for me to spend $8 shipping $10 worth of socks, and I’m also pretty strapped to give. Can you receive funds via paypal and do a local store run?

    Thanks for the work you’re doing!

  9. Hello – another box with a couple of pairs of socks and some toothpaste is en route from Amazon.

  10. Will be going through my sock drawer this weekend! I have always wondered what to do with old socks and I hate throwing anything away. Nice to know there is a option and people out there who want them.

  11. here in toronto there are two huge outlets called mcgregors, they have socks for super cheap, i mean i will send some off for sure, but it might be worth a call to them

  12. I’d be happy to donate, but would like to know more about OxenFree and/or D.T. Friedman. Is there any information about them. I haven’t been able to find OxenFree on any non-profit search sites. Thanks!

    1. Hi Sofia,

      D.T. is a friend of mine that I know through the writer’s group Codex. She is one of the loveliest, most generous people I know. Currently, besides volunteering at OxenFree she’s also a medical student and in the middle of her surgery rotation. And she totally needs a website.

      She told me the origin of OxenFree, but I’ll botch it if I try to sum-up, so hold out until she comes off rotation and can answer for you.

      Many thanks for asking!

  13. are you still collecting socks and toothbrushes?
    i read about this today on boingboing.
    i’ll send a bunch through an amazon order.

  14. Sent Oxenfree a little something. I got here from boingboing. I was a homeless teen for a year a long time ago, before anyone I knew of seemed to care like you guys do. So thank you, as someone who knows how much it can suck out there.

    Besides, what the hell is this whole graduate degree thing good for if not service to your community and the ability to reach out and help someone?

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention and giving me a chance to help.


  15. Hi. I arrived via BoingBoing. OxenFree doesn’t have a website? It needs an online presence in order to have some credibility and attract donations and volunteers. I’ll send some socks, but I wish you’d consider something more permanent as well: a website. If you’re interested please get in touch with me. It’s OK for Mary to give you the e-mail address I provided for this post. I’ll call you and we can talk. If I get a good vibe from you I’ll be willing to donate a domain name, website, e-mail and hosting.

  16. Wow. I love this. I have too many socks and I’d love to help warm the feet of some punks. Awesome. I’ll send a package this weekend.

  17. I actually live in Indianapolis and think I could rally a few of the venues I frequent into some support. Is there a number I could contact you at, or can I just drop everything off at the above address? I have never heard of OxenFree (or the writer’s group Codex) but would certainly like to know more (especially as a local writer). I’m sure I could do some volunteer web design if I had some more information.

  18. How about this suggestion: for socks that aren’t horribly worn-out, try darning them. When I was studying in Germany during High School, my host grandmother taught me how to darn my socks (especially wool ones) and I keep my warmer socks going year-to-year by some preventative maintenance along the way. Now they look pretty wild and crazy (punk-ish) due to the fact that I use varying colors of needle-point thread. For instance, I’ve got a pair of red and gray wool socks that have orange and green darning “patches” on them.

  19. Pingback: Link Love – Articles I loved! & Socks | Momma's Blog

  20. Hello! First of all, thank you so much for donating so much effort and time to such a worthwhile cause…people need HELP out there, and not enough people are willing to give it!

    A few years ago, after ready a blog by a gal named Crystal in Boston (LJ user being_homeless), I started a similar project at work to gather together donations, pack them into backpacks, and deliver them at Christmas to our local safe place for GLBT teens in Minneapolis. It was a fun project, and I talked all of my coworkers into donating to it instead of buying “Secret Santa” gifts for one another. The day before Christmas I hosted a potluck lunch and backpack-stuffing party. The last year we did it, we packed 58 backpacks full…I had shopped for items for 4 months for them, but it really makes a huge impact! However, now District 202 has funding for those “needed” items like toiletries, so they’ve asked us to donate wrapped gifts for the teens…and we’ve continued our tradition of doing it and delivering them the day before Christmas.

    Anyway, my point is…the backpack project seems like something you could use. I would be willing to help in any way I can, but maybe someone local to you might want to do the same thing? Of all the readers out there, maybe we could band together and plan it out for the holiday season to provide bags/backpacks/coats/gloves etc.?

    This is the list of items we put in each backpack/messenger bag:
    * Toothpaste/Toothbrushes
    * Soap
    * Shampoo
    * Lotion
    * Razors
    * Deodorant
    * Dental Floss (this is used to sew backpacks and clothes with)
    * Sewing Kits
    * Bandaids
    * Gift Certificates to fast food chains
    * Socks
    * Hats
    * Scarfs
    * Gloves
    * Ponchos
    * Pens
    * Notepads/Journals
    * Backpacks

    Many of these things can be purchased year-round at clearance sales and bargain bins…I tried not to do the “dollar store” stuff because it’s so dreadfully cheap and never lasts long…but I did get some great deals on quality backpacks by hunting around!

    Just thought I’d get the idea out there…it’s a really fun project once you dedicate yourself to it, and everyone seems to love to pack them together and help out! It’s a GREAT team-building exercise for big businesses with lots of employees, too!

    rooooo at g mail dot com if you want to further discuss…I’d love to do this on a much larger scale and help LOTS of homeless teens.

  21. Pingback: Punks need socks in Indiana | Holly Swanson

  22. Darning isn’t hard, just time consuming. You can find lots of sites describing how (like this one: by googling “how to darn socks”…but the basic steps are: first, stick a darning egg or a lightbulb into the sock to keep it’s shape while you sew. Next, reinforce the perimeter of the hole by sewing concentric circles of running stitches. Then sew a bunch of parallel stitches across the entire hole (do NOT pull the edges of the sock together! You want to cover the hole, not pull the edges in–that’s why you’re using the light bulb). Finally, start stitching perpendicularly to the first set of parallel stitches, weaving your thread up and down through each of those original parallel stitches. Remember to alternate the weave with each stitch (if you went under a parallel thread last stitch, next stitch go over, etc.). When you’re done, it looks like a piece of woven cloth has grown over the sock hole. Start with a sock you’re not that fond of; it takes a while to get the hang of it.

  23. Thank you, every one of you, for your support and kindness! Sorry for the delay (I’ve had some family difficulties on top of a really taxing job), but I wanted to answer a couple of questions that I saw here.

    Jason and Jay, I appreciate the idea of monetary contributions, but soliciting money feels very hairy to me, especially in tough economic times. It’s so much easier (for my own comfort, at least) to deal with contributed “stuff”, and people can be more certain that their donations are actually going to what they think. Plus, I’ve found people are much more likely to respond to requests for a specific item for a specific purpose than to a general request for funds. However, I’ve gotten a fantastic bunch of fundraising tips, and I really appreciate those as well! That advice is also going to good use; we have a punk who was invited by one of the more wealthy school systems to apply for an international study opportunity…but was given no way to fund it. So we’re trying to use those tips to find some sponsors for her; her school is rarely included in opportunities like this one. And I’m sure that future projects will benefit from this advice, as well!

    And seriously, everyone…Indianapolis is NOT the only city with sock-less teenagers! If shipping is too expensive, or just not desirable, you can still sock punks! And next time you look at your laundry basket of unmatched socks (don’t worry, you are NOT the only one who has one 😀 ) , how bout thinking of donating them to homeless teenagers? That way, you can help OxenFree help other people all over the world, not just in Indianapolis! How cool would that be? (Seems pretty cool, at least from this side of the computer screen! 😀 )

    Sofia, my buddy Stephen is writing up a blurb about OxenFree for you (and others who are curious to know more). Also, there are a couple of incredibly generous people who have offered to design and host a website for OxenFree, so stand by for an actual web presence! But to tide you over, OxenFree is a husband-and-wife effort, run by two of my very best friends. They are passionate about the teens they help, opening their house to community dinners, punk rock house concerts, tea parties (Yes. Tea parties. They’re popular!), and movie and game nights. They ask nothing in return for their services, and are always looking for new ways to help the kids who find their way to OxenFree’s door. As they gain more and more support, they plan to expand themselves into an actual halfway house so they can increase their ability to assist their punks. They are affiliated with (but not identical to) an umbrella non-profit called Artists for a Better World, as well as Stephen’s venue-booking enterprise, Piradical Productions.

    Personally, Mary is incredibly flattering, but I’m not all that interesting. I’m a third-year medical student, in a surgery rotation. That automatically turns me into a non-entity, at least for the next few months. I know Mary through Codex, a nifty online writing workshop for neo-pro speculative fiction writers. I’m a doctor-larva by day (and often by night…and during my surgery rotation, the very, very, ungodly early morning…), and an author-larva by the bits and trickles that fall in between. (My first publication came out in the Spring 2008 issue of Shimmer Magazine. Like the shameless plug? 😀 ) I truly believe that if everyone did one little thing in their little corner of the world, that the world would be a better place for everyone. And I truly believe that people want to do good; all they need is an opportunity. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to work with Margie and Stephen; they are the real deal, genuinely good (and truly great) people with so much love that it just can’t be contained. I’m honored to have them as friends.

    Paul, yes, we have a tax ID number…I’m bugging Stephen to dig it out of his paperwork and get it to you.

    Joseph, I’d assume drop-offs are all right. Beware the attack-punks. They have become bold with their newly-sock-ed-ness. 😀

    Rooooo, I’ll pass along your email to Margie and Stephen. Thanks!

    Whoo! Thanks for bearing with me! Please let me know if you have any other questions! And thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your good wishes and support! You have no idea how much good youre doing, even from so far away! My deepest gratitude to every one of you!

    D. T. Friedman

  24. Hi-

    Saw this linked over on Boing Boing… I’m going out to buy some socks to send along to you guys! What a great program! Much love to DT for doing such a good deed. My daughter drew a picture that I’ll send along too.


Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top