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Student launches sock drive for the homeless

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You can never be too young to start making a difference in the world. Just ask 16-year-old Nathaniel Jensen, a student at Life Christian who spent the 2013 holiday season collecting socks for the homeless population in Tacoma and is once again taking the reins of the operation this year.

Jensen took over the sock drive when the Tacoma Fire Department announced it would cease doing the annual drive a few years ago and instead focus on collecting toys for children in need (an equally worthwhile venture). But being a young man who knows a thing or two about taking on responsibility (he’s grown up in a family of fire fighters), Jensen decided to organize the drive himself and got his classmates at Life Christian involved as well. The reasoning behind the mission is simple: people need to stay warm.

“The fire department was going to stop doing it and I felt like it should still be going on. People should get socks if they don’t have them,” Jensen said.

The drive this year will run from Dec. 10 to Jan.7, and collection boxes can be found at any of the fire stations around the city (see sidebar). In 2013, half the stations were able to completely fill their boxes in about two weeks, so plenty more should come pouring in this year.

Jensen will eventually collect the socks and turn them over to his Ministry Outreach Class at Life Christian, which will distribute them directly to the homeless and to the Tacoma Rescue Mission, ensuring that those less fortunate can stay even just a little bit warmer during the chilling winter season.

Homelessness is an issue that has become increasingly visible in Tacoma over the last several years, and socks are perhaps one of the most important things the population can be gifted with. Jensen feels this is an issue worth giving attention to.

“In Tacoma, there’s a big homeless population, and most of them can’t afford to get new socks often. It’s kind of a Christmas blessing for them to be able to get something like this,” Jensen said.

All socks collected will go to those in need, and Jensen couldn’t be happier to have contributed.

“I want to help people who don’t have the means to be able to help themselves in some situations because of something that happened to them. I feel like I should help them,” Jensen said.

Needless to say, Jensen’s parents are more than proud of what their son is accomplishing

“They like it and I feel like they really support me in this,” Jensen said.

So this holiday season, as families are deciding where to give to those in need, consider Jensen and his grassroots movement to keep the homeless population warm.

“Please donate the socks,” Jensen said.

Donate new socks at these local fire department stations:

Station 1: 901 Fawcett Ave.

Station 2: 2701 Tacoma Ave. S.

Station 3: 206 Browns Point Blvd.

Station 4: 1453 Earnest South Brazill St.

Station 7: 5448 S. Warner St.

Station 8: 4911 S. Alaska St.

Station 9: 3502 6th Ave.

Station 10: 7247 South Park Ave.

Station 11: 3802 McKinley Ave. E.

Station 12: 2015 54th Ave. East (Fife)

Station 13: 3825 N. 25th St.

Station 14: 4701 N. 41st St.

Station 15: 6415 McKinley Ave.

Station 16: 7217 6th Ave.