Submitted by Unity Care NW

It sounds simple, but putting on clean, comfortable clothing every day is a powerful thing. With the help of their customers and Giving Partners, Bombas wanted to offer new, clean clothes to everyone who needs them.

Bombas, based in New York City, makes comfortable essential clothing tested for durability. Since 2013, for every pair of socks purchased, a pair of socks has been donated to individuals experiencing homelessness.

Through this simple concept of One Purchased = One Donated, Bombas has reached across the entire nation, warming feet and creating hope for unhoused friends and neighbors. Their network of 3,500+ Giving Partners helps them distribute an item for every item purchased. Unity Care NW is proud to be one of their partners providing clothing items for those most in need in Whatcom County.

A simple gesture like providing warm dry socks can be the first step to building trust and rapport to get individuals connected with the services they need. Photo courtesy Unity Care NW

Getting Socks Out to Our Community

Unity Care NW serves approximately 2,500–3,000 unhoused patients each year. In the last six years, Bombas has generously provided nearly 10,000 socks for Unity Care NW to provide to unhoused and struggling individuals and families in Whatcom County. Unity Care NW’s team gives out essential clothing items through individual outreach and through local nonprofits working with unhoused community members to increase the reach of the distribution.

“Small gestures, like providing socks to keep someone’s feet dry and warm, could be the first step to building rapport and trust to get them connected to services that will lift them out of homelessness,” says Unity Care NW Population Health Manager Nicole Fields.

More Than Socks

This year Unity Care NW was thrilled with the news that Bombas has expanded their giving to include underwear and t-shirts. Along with 5,000 donated socks, the health center received more than 3,000 pairs of underwear and 600 t-shirts, as well! These items will be crucial for clients at The Way Station, a health and hygiene center for unhoused community members opening later this year.

100 Million Donated!

In May 2023, Bombas surpassed 100 million products donated. They used this opportunity to help shift the public perception of homelessness by bringing greater awareness to the breadth and complexity of the experience through the voices of individuals with lived experience. Their hope is that with greater understanding comes greater capacity for compassion and opportunity for human-centered solutions.

For Trixie, her four-month experience with homelessness began after leaving the military sector. She slept in other people’s cars and couches until the VA could admit her in to housing.

Soulieo experienced homelessness for 10 years. While his nights were spent sleeping behind buildings, apartments, job sites, or on friend’s couches, he spent his days working two jobs. Neither paid enough to help him secure housing.

Legacy ran away from an abusive household, beginning a four-year long period of homelessness. As she waited for more permanent housing, she bounced back and forth between shelters and organizations where she was often the only girl and the youngest person there.

You can read more of their stories and find out data on the realities of being homeless here.

About Unity Care NW

Unity Care NW is a local, nonprofit health center that makes sure everyone in our community has access to care by providing high-quality, affordable, primary, medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy services, and innovative programs to ensure wrap-around whole person care. Each year Unity Care NW serves 1 in 10 Whatcom County residents, more than 24,000 people.

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