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Shoes, Socks, & Water

Free shoes for the homeless

Most needed items on for those living on the streets

I have read many articles and seen many ads for socks for the homeless. Some may think why do they need so many socks? Well, I will tell you a few good reasons. Walking everywhere you need to go for services, or a safe place to hide/sleep puts wear and tear on your feet and whatever you have them wrapped in. More often than not it’s ill fitting shoes and worn out socks that are the wrappers for your mode of transportation. You can’t carry around a bag of dirty socks to wash at the laundry mat. Mostly because a lot of laundry mats won’t let homeless people in for one thing and the other is money for wash, detergent, softener, bleach, dryer sheets. How is one expected to purchase and carry these things around with them while looking for housing, a job or other homeless related services.

So the socks get tossed when a new pair comes along and shoes, well those are worn till the holes just take over. That is if you can find a pair of shoes that fit. The most difficult to help are the men who wear size 13, 14 or even 15 shoes. They rarely get donated to programs that distribute shoes. Women who wear size 9, 10 etc also have a hard time finding a good fitting shoe.

Ive seen men wearing flip flops in January because they can’t find a shoe that fits them. As reported on Cronkite News, ill fitting shoes is often mistaken for drunkeness or being high because the person is limping or walking at an odd angle. People assume when they see a homeless person walking down the street wobbling that they are high when the real problem is that their feet hurt.

There are many organizations that distribute clothing, shoes, sox, and other neccessities to the homeless but they are few and far between. When there are special events, (like a church give away) it’s difficult to get the word out as most homeless people don’t watch the news or read the newspaper. Distribution is an issue, but there are a few places I have found that do offer free clothing/shoes and other services. If you are in that special shoe size category, you would be wise to ask as many different places as possible if they could help you find a pair of shoes in your rare sizes. Most of these programs if not all are donation based. Meaning when someone is cleaning out their closet they often donate to one of these programs. This keeps most donations of an average size and do not accomodate the many outliers with other than average needs.

Shoe/Clothing Give Aways

St. Vincent De Paul

I am familiar with a few of them. The first is St. Vincent De Paul, they have a facility in downtown Phoenix -320 Watkins Street – that offers showers (with all the hygiene neccessities) and a change of clothes and shoes if they have them 7 days a week from 7:30am to 6pm. And Yes, that is a terriffic service, but what if you reside in West Phoenix, or West Valley for that matter? 320 Watkins street is not really easy to get to from 35th and Peoria although with all the other services available down there, it could certainly be worth the expedition.

St. Vincent De Paul Resource Center 213 S 11th Ave Phoenix, AZ 85007 (602) 255-0580

Vineyard Church

Closer to the West Valley/West Phoenix area is Vineyard Church and they also offer a food and clothing bank 7 days a week at 63rd Avenue and Peoria. They have morning hours at 9am on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and evening hours on the other days, 7pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. But here’s the catch with that one….Their website says “When you arrive, drive to the end of the “waiting vehicle line” by the Compassion Building. Stay in your vehicle. You’ll be asked to fill out a questionnaire.” There is no information about what to do if you don’t have a vehicle. I can only assume that they also take walk-ups but I am not sure and it’s not a given. Many places, even those whose purpose is to serve the homeless, do not want homeless people walking in their doors or congregating outside their facilities. So I would suggest call first. I will update this article when I am able to verify their walk up policy. For more information contact Paul Vandernaalt Email or call at 623.934.4000

Andre’ House

Andre House, also Downtown Phoenix, has a clothing distribution service in addition to their many other unique and badly needed services. They offer a place to make a phone call, (like the one that might get back to a home,) They give away Blankets, they have a Laundry service where you drop it off and return to pick up folded clean clothes in a bag. Keep your eyes out for a complete article on who they are and what they have to offer and how to navigate their services.

Clothing Closet at Andre House Distributes free used clothing to adults who are homeless and poor. All services are provided at 213 S. 11th Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85007 Lines begin forming at 60 minutes before start of service. André House is closed on Fridays. For more information, call: 602-252-9023 This is really close to CASS so it’s very crowded and there are already a lot of people there that have been there before and know how things work. Don’t be afraid to ask. They really do help quite a few people every day, you just gotta know who to go to and at what time to get the help required.

Community Resource Center

Community Resource Center (statewide) looks like they also offer clothing but no specific mention of shoes and they have a few locations around the valley and the state. It looks like they offer food as well as Snap services to get you signed up for EBT Nutrition Assistance plus clothing, hygiene and a job center. Here’s a few of their close by locations but they also serve Yuma and Tucson.

And it looks like the last one on this list is Harvest Compassion Center, part of the Mitchell Swaback minitstries. Their website says:


The Harvest Compassion Center is completely free to the public allowing all guests to shop freely for food, hygiene, baby and clothing items. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY. Each guest is allowed one visit every 30 days and is asked to provide proper identification that states their current home address. Each guest must bring with them their I.D. and also a utility bill.

There are three Harvest Compassion Center locations, please choose to shop at a center that is closest to you. We recommend being in line 15 minutes before closing time to ensure you are served.

HCC North Phoenix
4744 E. Thunderbird Rd., Ste. 9, Phoenix, Arizona 80532
(Tatum and E. Thunderbird, directly behind Spencer’s TV & Appliance Store)

HCC West Phoenix
5608 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona
(27th Ave. and Camelback Rd., near the GCU campus)

HCC Maryvale
4002 N. 67th Ave., Phoenix, Arizona 85033
(67th Avenue and Indian School, in the same parking to as Peter Piper Pizza)

Future Resources Directory

I will continue to add more services as I find them and list them in the future Directory of Resources that is planned for The Street Fairy website. Making it easier to navigate resources and find the services that you need with real information about the facility or program to actually get services in the quickest and easiest way possible.

So many of the websites for organizations that provide services are directed to the donors. I am not sure they realize how hard they make it on the person actually needing services to find the neccessarry information, especially when internet time is usually very limited and loading a new page on an “obama phone” can take several minutes. You can not just go to the 211AZ State provided directory and type in shoes to get a list of places that offer shoes.. Hopefully I can build a sufficient directory here.

Looking for ways to help?

If you are interested in donating, I am collecting winter type shoes of any size for men or women to be given out at various places throughout the West Phoenix/West Valley area. I am also collecting Sox of any size or type but tube sox are the most wanted. You can contact me for a drop/off or I can come pick up, whatever works for you. I will be posting on social media and putting out notices when we have enough for a give away. Tomorrow, January 2nd we will be giving away socks, cowboy cookies, bottles of water and fresh ripe oranges to those we come across on the West Side. 35th ave and Peoria, 59thave and Bethany, 27th ave and Northern. Don’t hesitate to contact me to see if I might have what you need.

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