Emily West made it her mission to collect and donate new socks to help the homeless.
So with the help of her family she created Gospel Socks.
In the four months she has been working on the project, the 12-year-old girl has raised $2,000 and donated almost 1,500 socks to Beautiful Feet Ministries near downtown Fort Worth.
“Little things like socks can make a difference in people’s lives,” Emily said.
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The idea for Gospel Socks began while Emily was on a school choir trip in San Antonio in February.
“I noticed that there were so many homeless people there,” she said. “Then, we were going home, I saw this van that was delivering food to them and I thought that was cool.”
Once home, the thought of helping the homeless kept growing.
“I was just thinking on my bed,” she said. “I thought, I have a lot of Christmas money and I don’t know what to do with it.”
Emily discussed her plans with her parents and sister and set her sights on finding ways to donate socks to the homeless.
“We wanted to put a Bible verse on the socks,” she said. “It’s like sharing Jesus, but with socks. Donating socks is one thing, but giving them hope is another great thing.”
The Wests researched all the ins and outs of making Gospel Socks a registered nonprofit, but it is just not in the 12-year-old’s budget now, said Jennifer West, Emily’s mother.
“I’ve looked into it and read up on it enough to know what the fees are and what the steps are,” she said.
Partnering with established nonprofits was the next best thing, said Jennifer West.
The Wests attend Fellowship of the Parks in north Fort Worth, and donations can be made to Gospel Socks through the church, which allows donations to be tax-deductible, Jennifer West said.
All socks collected by West go to Beautiful Feet Ministries.
“We looked at the Beautiful Feet website and the first thing that came up on the most needed donations list was socks,” said the outgoing sixth-grader from Parkwood Hill Intermediate School in the Keller district.
Emily is a blessing, said Erik Olson, Beautiful Feet Ministries pastor of administration.
“She has a heart of gold,” he said. “Emily is an inspiration to our ministry and to our community. So many say that they do not have the time to serve the poor and needy, yet here is a girl who has impacted around a thousand people.”
The goal of Beautiful Feet Ministries is to impact lives through the teachings of Jesus Christ, he said.
“We impact this community by showing love and giving them hope,” Olson said. “Emily’s Gospel Socks do exactly this. They show Christ’s love by providing a need, but also sharing the freedom and hope found in Jesus Christ.”
Her acts of kindness have not gone unnoticed by regular volunteers at Beautiful Feet Ministries, said Tom Grier, who has volunteered for four years.
“It’s very impressive and I think it is so awesome she came up with this on her own to help the less fortunate as a gift from the heart,” said Grier, a Benbrook resident.
Seeing the community respond to Gospel Socks has been amazing, said Jennifer West.
“It has been really cool to see people latch on to the idea and want to help and be a part however they could,” she said.
Emily’s original goal was to donate 1,000 pairs of socks.
With the record surpassed with 1,491 already collected, she’s raising the bar.
“We will just keep going,” she said. “I feel like stretching it to a million socks from a 1,000 might be high — that’s a big jump.”
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