Help Declan help the homeless

From left: Kathy Cantz, Declan Cassidy, Margie Kearns, Jerry Kearns, Marianne McFarland, Kathy Brooks.
Jen, Declan and John Cassidy
Declan Cassidy

Declan’s Socks for the Streets recently kicked off its third annual campaign to provide socks for homeless people in Philadelphia.

The effort is led by Declan Cassidy, 12, a Normandy resident and seventh-grader at Baldi Middle School.

Declan and his parents, John and Jen, collected socks on Saturday afternoon outside Curley’s Pub, 8929 Krewstown Road, in the Sun Valley Center.

Kathy Cantz, of Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 25, met Declan in early August at the 8th Police District’s National Night Out.

“I figured this was something we could really get in to,” Cantz said.

So, LAOH 25, which meets at Curley’s, invited Declan to collect socks in the parking lot, under the pub’s outdoor seating area canopy.

Declan collects new socks in all sizes for men, women and children. Last year, more than 9,000 pairs were donated.

His goal for this year?

“Maybe around the same,” he said.

Declan learned the volunteer spirit after watching his mom get involved in various causes. While the socks campaign predated the coronavirus, he began to ramp up his efforts during the pandemic when he had more time on his hands.

“People always give food and clothes, never socks. Socks are one of the most-needed things,” Declan said.

Declan earned the Mayor’s Youth Hero Award for his concern for the homeless. Among the other groups he’s assisted in one way or another are veterans, abused women, drug-addicted people, Prevention Point, Toys for Tots, Caring for Friends, Wreaths Across America, the Love Lot and Never Surrender Hope.

Declan has also met some homeless men — Bill, John and Ed — near Philadelphia Mills. His family helped Ed get into treatment.

“We’re more than proud. He’s our most famous Cassidy,” John Cassidy said.

“We’d rather he learn to be kind and nice rather than judge,” Jen Cassidy said.

The collection of socks will run through Dec. 20. Anyone who missed Saturday’s event and wants to donate socks can email laohdivision25@gmail.com.

Since the Christmas season is so busy for charities, Declan waits for the new year to ramp up his efforts to make sure the homeless have new, warm, dry, clean socks.

“We usually go in the beginning of January,” he said.

Declan is appreciative of LAOH Division 25 and anyone else who supports him. He was invited to accept donated socks at a farmers market in Warrington on Oct. 8, and there is a dropoff box at Faulkner Nissan of Jenkintown. He also receives donations from people across the country.

Anybody who wants to donate socks can drop them off at the Cassidy home at 2841 Norcom Court or schedule a pickup by calling 215-939-2569. To obtain a dropoff box or for more information, email socksforthestreets@gmail.com or visit the Declan’s Socks For The Streets page on Facebook. ••