College students sell socks to help the homeless

UPLAND, Ind. (WISH) – A couple of Indiana college kids are giving back to the community.

They want to supply socks to the homeless. So they started a business that lets you buy a pair of socks, and in turn they donate a pair to a homeless shelter.

Socks are the number one item requested by homeless shelters. So Keaton Hendricks and Eric Cellier co-founded Sky Footwear Socks.

You get a pair of fashionable socks and a homeless person near you gets some added protection.

"Step by step we've gone along the way and that's kind of how we've taken it," says Eric Cellier, co-founder of Sky Footwear Socks.

Cellier and Hendricks are business students at Taylor University.

"We had a mission of raising socks for homeless shelters in the US because how simple a sock is to us is such a huge need to them," says Hendricks.

They started on their mission last summer. The company is now headquartered in their dorm rooms.

Hendricks had the original idea for the company. He discovered the need while working in homeless shelters in his hometown of Bloomington.

"There are people in my own community that were suffering and hurting," says Hendricks.

Much of the suffering was because of a lack of proper footwear.

"Given some of situations that these guys go through buying socks is not something they can always go out and do or having clean socks is not something they can always go out and have," says William Bumphus, the director at Wheeler Mission.

In September 2016 with a group of friends, Hendricks and Keaton donated 300 pairs of socks to the Mission.

"At that time we had almost 300, 350 guys here staying for overnight shelter so every guy was able to get one to two pair of socks. We didn't have any socks left over that day," says Bumphus.

Hendricks and Cellier have already donated over 2,000 pairs of socks to various shelters.

In addition to Wheeler Mission, locally they've also donated to Shalom Community Center in Bloomington and the Evansville Rescue Mission. Every month they choose a different shelter to donate to.

When asked what keeps them going, Cellier says, "I think it's the impact that we're making and we're able to see that first hand pretty soon when we started this."

Beyond the pair of socks, and revealing the reasoning behind their name, Hendricks and Cellier say they want the homeless to know the sky is their only limit.

"The sky can be a symbol of hope a little bit so that's again what we're trying to provide to these people in need, just a little bit of hope," says Cellier.

They've also given to shelters in Chicago, Toledo and Milwaukee.

They say the need doesn't end with the winter. They say the socks are needed just as much in the rainy warm months as they are in the colder months.

Socks can be purchased through their website. Also, they've partnered with the Taylor University bookstore and Greeters in Bloomington to sell the socks.

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