SASDA hosts sock drive for Boston Healthcare for the Homeless

When Uma Meenakshinathan DMD 22 started her externship at the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program (BHCHP), she noticed that individuals were arriving after big winter storms with amputated toes and feet.

“I met a gentleman who lost both his feet because of diabetes-related complications that started off from frostbite,” she said. “That was just devastating to me. They had a lack of socks or proper foot care, and that simple thing can just lead to such devastating consequences as losing an entire limb.”

After talking to the donation coordinator at the program and learning that socks are one of the most in-demand items for many of the homeless shelters, Meenakshinathan, who serves as president of the South Asian Student Dental Association (SASDA), decided to launch a sock drive, which ran at GSDM from February 22 to March 8.

Meenakshinathan got a list of different types and sizes of socks—including cotton, wool and diabetic compression—from the donation coordinator and uploaded them to an Amazon wishlist, with the instructions to mail them to the office of Dr. Joseph Calabrese, associate dean of students.

“He [Calabrese] said, right away, ‘Yes, let’s fill my office with socks,’” Meenakshinathan said.

In total, the organization was able to collect 646 pairs of socks, 18 pairs of gloves, and 12 hats, all of which were donated to the Boston Health Care for the Homeless program.

“This far exceeded my expectation for the drive, and I am very, very happy that so many people contributed to this case,” Meenakshinathan said.

Meenakshinathan hopes the event can become an annual occurrence that can continue to bring awareness to the cause.

“Every time I tell people why I started the sock drive, they’re always shocked—it [frostbite] has such devastating consequences, and almost no one realizes it,”  Meenakshinathan said. “So I want to bring awareness to the situation.”