Riley Beres, Founder
Socks for Souls, Inc.
How We Started
One man’s words and this are really the foundation of Socks for Souls, Inc., the journey and the lessons learned.
About six years ago, my friend and I were asked to collaborate on serving breakfast to the homeless at St. David’s Church on behalf of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission and Children in Film. It was a leadership project that involved a mini-PSA on how teens can volunteer and make a difference. I met a man there who asked me if he could tell his story. I didn’t set out to hear a story, I was just there to help serve breakfast and ask questions from the coordinators on ways youth can get involved and help serve. This man, however, forever touched my heart not only with his story, but by his actions. He just wanted to say, "Thank You" and tell how he became homeless and his hopes for a brighter future through services and people like us.
This encounter really inspired me to look at the homeless a little differently and I wanted to explore the many different faces of homelessness, the different reasons people became homeless, and try to have a better understanding towards the growing population while dispelling stereotypes. So, I asked my friend if he would like to join me in making a documentary on homelessness in LA. We did! I have to say, that the filming experience was life-changing. I was happy to have my friend be a part of the filming process. The documentary has served its purpose and hopefully will continue to do so --see it here "Hope for our Own: an LA Story."
During the filming process, we interviewed a gentleman who worked with one of the shelters, he mentioned “that there just isn’t nearly enough socks to give and it is difficult to maintain a constant supply. We are always in desperate need of clean, new socks and undergarments.” At that moment, I found my answer on how to continue to help the people of Los Angeles in one small, continuous way. I created Socks for Souls, Inc. as a way to restore dignity to those experiencing hardship, one pair of socks at a time. It’s a simple premise really, giving a person a brand new pair of socks. What many of us take for granted each morning as part of our ritual to get ready for the day, is not possible for others.
I’ll always be grateful for the journey of the documentary, the people that we met, the stories that were told and entrusted to a 15 and 18 year old, the trust of the organizations that let us in their doors and the support of our parents. I will always be grateful to my friend for joining on the filming and for our editor for his willingness to jump in and help and be amazing and my school for helping us push the documentary forward into the public eye. In the end, though, it really was one man’s words for the foundation of Socks for Souls, Inc., the journey we are on and the lessons we will learn along the way.
Please join me in helping make a small difference in the lives of others and let’s, as a team, feel great about reaching our goals.