Have you ever really sat and thought about the importance of socks? Have you walked into a room and been overwhelmed by the odor of dirty socks and undergarments waiting to be washed, especially if you play sports or work out at the gym? Ever wonder what it would be like if you weren’t able to wash those items?
Many of us have washers/dryers and drawers of socks, underwear and clean clothes. When you combine this with the ability to shower and wash our mouths with toothpaste, we aren’t smelly, dirty or unattractive.
Body odors are caused by a number of factors, chemicals in sweat, wastes excreted through the skin such as metabolized alcohol, stale cigarette smoke, and bacteria growing on stained clothing, including undergarments and socks.
Outside of dirty clothing, the next culprit for odor are our feet. Feet have a lot of sweat glands. A long day in closed shoes creates a nice warm, moist/dark environment for bacteria and fungi to grow.
Imagine not having the luxury of washing/drying clothing on a regular basis or the ability to change from dirty clothing, socks and undergarments to clean ones on a daily basis. Unfortunately, for homeless individuals this is often their reality.
For people who are without shelter and living on the streets, showers and the ability to maintain everyday hygiene are nearly impossible. Not only does this situation jeopardize their hygiene but is also is a contributor to unpleasantly bad smells.
This is one of many reasons why socks and underwear given to individuals in need by shelter representatives are often the bridge to communication. According to Shari Weaver, Regional Coordinator, SPA 8 Coordinated Entry System of Harbor Interfaith Services, “Every step of a homeless person is a painful reminder of their situation. New socks are a powerful way to show compassion to someone going through the most difficult time in their life. Help us give comfort, health and hope. Additionally, the socks are a simple gesture of on our behalf and a way to open up conversations with them about moving from the streets and into housing.”
(educational source: Smelly Socks, Wikipedia)