The time is 2:30am on a Thursday morning. It’s early February in New York and the wind sweeps through the street corridors, making the pre-dawn air more bitterly cold than the thermometer already suggests. In the small pool of light cast by the window display of a store called Union Square Wines & Spirits sits a small huddled figure. It’s a young girl, around college-aged by the looks of it.
The wind picks up. The girl shivers more violently and wraps her flimsy black jacket around her body tighter. Her legs, clad only in thin black tights, are visibly shaking as they struggle to fold in closer to the source of what little body heat is being generated. Exhaustion and desperation are written across her face as she tries to defy the laws of physics and disappear from her harsh environment altogether by curling into an increasingly smaller ball.
Passing by her pitiful figure, you might think to yourself “Poor girl, so young and already homeless.” But wait. What is this? There’s a book in her hand and she reaches to take a swig from bottle of Naked Juice. And is that a Macbook Pro she just pulled out?
Well that girl is none other than yours sincerely.
What was I doing sitting on a cold and dirty New York sidewalk at 2:30 in the morning when I had class that day and should have been fast asleep in the dorm room that I’m already paying way too much for? No, I was not locked out of my room, nor was I doing some kind of challenge to raise money for a good cause. In fact, there were about 200 other people with me who formed a line wrapping around the block, of which I stood at the tale end. All of us were sacrificing sleep and the warmth of our homes in the hopes of being one of the first three hundred people to buy a CD in order to obtain a limited wristband that would allow us to the meet the CD’s artist, South Korean pop sensations Girls’ Generation, later that day. Call me crazy, but it was worth it.
The cold and the sleep deprivation must have really gotten to me in a deep way because while shivering on that sidewalk and attempting to read Antigone by the light of the display window, I had a revelation.
When I first learned about KNO Clothing, I was under the impression that it donated a shirt for every shirt sold. During the application process for my current position, I realized that the “article of clothing” donated for every article bought was actually based on what people requested. Most of the time, organizations have requested brand new pairs of socks and I must admit that I had mixed feelings about this. For a while, “Why socks?” was the question on my mind, and I’m sure many of you have also wondered this at one point. Why not a shirt? After all, a shirt does so much more, right? Well I found out for myself the hard way to never underestimate the importance of a warm, clean pair of socks.
Sitting on that icy sidewalk, my toes were the first to fall in the battle to stay warm. After just an hour, my feet felt like two leaden weights attached to the ends of my increasingly numbing legs. All because I didn’t have the foresight to put on a pair of socks. Every day, people wander around and go to bed on the sidewalks of New York. To someone without the comforts of a home to return to, having a spare pair of socks is truly a blessing.
So I challenge you to give this simple gift today. Buy KNO, give hope.