This Saturday, students from eight different Boston-area colleges will volunteer at homeless shelters, donating their time and more than 25,000 pairs of socks to those in need.
Socks are one of the most requested clothing items by homeless shelters. Twenty-year-old Harvard student Charlotte Kim, who organized this Triple S Day (which stands for "students, service and socks"), first learned this fact over the summer when she was interning with a company called Bombas.
Bombas, which is based in New York City, donates one pair of socks to charity for every pair they sell. Though Kim grew up in New York City, she said that when she was interning with the company, she saw another side to her home.
“All interns and employees, [the Bombas founders] give them 10 pairs of donation socks on their first week and tell them to hand them out to homeless people on the street,” she said.
As Kim distributed the socks, she was shocked at the impact, she said, because every person she handed a pair to responded, “How did you know? This is exactly what I needed.”
When she got back to Harvard, she realized she could do something similar here — especially with Boston’s big student population, which she considers an untapped resource for community service work.
College students are busy, and Kim understands that, so she wanted a way to ease students in.
“Most volunteer opportunities require a little bit more of a commitment, like a weekly stint. I had this idea for just creating a service day, just a one-time commitment,” she said. “Even if people are only able to go out once, it makes a big difference.”
More than 200 students from Harvard, Boston College, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Suffolk University and Wellesley College will gather on Saturday for Triple S Day.
First they’ll hear from Bombas, which donated the socks that will be distributed and worked as a financial partner with Kim and a team of 11 other students to make this day a reality, and then they’ll get to socialize amongst themselves.
The chance to interact with students from other schools is a rarity, Kim said, and helped garner excitement about the event. Nonprofits will also set up booths so students can learn about more ways to give back.
Then they’ll split up to head to 20 different homeless shelters, where the students will spend the afternoon handing out socks and helping on site.
Kim couldn’t say exactly if this will be an annual event just yet, but she already sees a lot of enthusiasm from those involved and is thinking about ways to keep connecting students with volunteer work.
“There are over 150,000 college students here,” she said. “A lot of us maybe have this mentality that we’re in and out, we’re only here for four years, but I think that’s the wrong mentality to have.”
“Boston is our home, even if only for four years,” she said, “and we do have an obligation to give back to our community.”