Socks for the street

11-year-old Normandy resident Declan Cassidy runs a drive that has so far raised more than 4,000 total pairs of socks to donate to those who are homeless.

For most 11-year-olds, keeping up with virtual schooling and helping his mother volunteer would be more than enough to fill a schedule. For Normandy’s Declan Cassidy, though, it’s not enough.

Last year, Declan decided to start his own drive to collect and distribute socks for people experiencing homelessness. He was inspired by his mother’s work with Never Surrender Hope, a group that travels the city and provides food and clothing for the homeless.

“A lot of the signs we see were asking for socks,” said Jennifer Malazita Cassidy, Declan’s mother.

Over the span of a few months, Declan was able to raise 1,005 pairs of socks, along with items like coats and slippers. The items were donated to Never Surrender Hope, Women Against Abuse and St. Francis Inn. They spread the word through fliers and on Facebook.

This year, they want to do it again. And so far, they’re off to an amazing start.

“We’re probably over 3,000 pairs by now,” Cassidy said.

The second annual drive, which started in September and will run to Dec. 20, already far exceeded last year’s total when Declan’s story was picked up by Channel 6 Action News. Other than that, they’re spreading the word in much the same way, by sharing it on social media, neighborhood sites and asking local stores if they can hang fliers.

“We wanted to get more for this year, and we already got like triple,” Declan said.

For Declan, it’s about more than just giving to the homeless. His sister Amber, 26, struggles with addiction, and the family always tries to help those who suffer from substance abuse disorders or people on the streets.

“He loves to help and always wants to be involved,” Cassidy said.

Cassidy also volunteers with 8th Police District Advisory Council, Toys for Tots and Normandy Civic Association.

Declan is particularly excited about a donation from Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland.

Socks can be mailed to the Cassidy household at 2841 Norcom Court, Philadelphia, PA 19154. Those who live locally can also schedule a pickup by calling 215-939-2569.

To learn more, join the Declan’s Socks for the Streets group on Facebook. ••