Sock Pantries were launched to address the prevalence of foot infections and related conditions amongst Canada’s unhoused population. Through our work with community partners, review of the literature, and conversations with frontline stakeholders, we’ve come to realize the gap in access to warm, dry socks within this demographic.
Those facing the elements on a daily basis often do not have regular access to the shelter system and similar sources of donated socks, and even when accessible, new/unused socks are amongst the least donated items to shelters, leading to a significant disparity in access.
In this innovative, low barrier model, we are deploying pantries filled with clean, unused socks in high-traffic areas within the community. Individuals can take as many socks as they need without judgment or policing, helping mitigate stigma and discomfort. So far, the pantry has successfully been set up at Sherbourne Health in downtown Toronto. We are in the process of establishing sustainable sources of socks for this pantry and exploring further locations to expand this initiative.