A Look Into SOCK Club


Christiana Cino

When walking through Santa Barbara, whether on a beach or downtown, it is hard not to notice the significant amount of homelessness on the streets. The sad truth of the ever-growing homeless population stunts the city’s beauty. Since California generally has warm weather year-round, the state becomes a convenient location for those experiencing homelessness. As of February 2022, statistics show that about 1,962 people are homeless, with only 595 people living in shelters. Part of the reasoning for this is that homeless shelters in Santa Barbara do not have enough beds, nor do they have enough permanent supportive housing units, or transitional housing. 

There are, however, many groups within Santa Barbara whose main goal is to help those experiencing homelessness. One of these groups includes a club within the Laguna Blanca community. SOCK Club, currently led by Molly Morouse and advised by Ashley Tidy, is a club dedicated to helping the homeless community within Santa Barbara. “I joined SOCK in my freshman year because I wanted to get more involved in my local community. I knew how important it was to adequately support people experiencing homelessness, but I didn’t realize how much of SOCK’s work is based on connection. It just seemed like a positive place to be,” says club leader Molly Morouse. Each winter, the club organizes their “warm things drive” where the lower, middle and upper schools donate warm clothing items. These items, such as jackets, sweatshirts, pants, socks, and sleeping bags, are distributed to the homeless living in Alameda park. 

On Thursday, December 16, the club headed down to Alameda park to hand out their collected donations and spend time with the park community. “My favorite part about SOCK is definitely the conversations I have in the park. On Thursdays, we’re able to attend the weekly meal sharing that happens at Alameda Park. Here, I’ve handed out countless pieces of clothing but also gained countless pieces of advice and wisdom from people who I may have never interacted with otherwise. I love hearing people’s stories and supporting them in their journey to housing, jobs, or simply a warm night’s sleep,” says Molly. 

An essential part of combating homelessness is also recognizing that those experiencing homelessness are regular people who are simply struggling. Part of SOCK club is to enforce this idea by allowing students to interact first-hand with these people and form connections with them. “There are so many myths about homelessness that are detrimental to the vulnerable community. Many believe that people are homeless by choice, that everyone is addicted or mentally ill, or that there are enough sufficient resources for those that truly want them. The truth is that every story is different and these harsh generalizations stigmatize a group that is often in these horrible positions because of abuse, trauma, or emergency. In order to support people experiencing homelessness, we must first detach ourselves from these common misconceptions and learn to develop understanding and empathy – two traits that SOCK aims to strengthen.”