11-year-old runs sock drive for homeless

Boy, family brave cold to hand out socks to homeless

DETROIT – You can't tell by looking at shopping center parking lots that things are freezing. Despite the thermostat dropping to near zero, people were venturing out for various reasons.

But it's because of the cold weather the Washington family walks 8 Mile and Woodward.

"It's so cold, but it's worth it," said Rudy Washington Jr., 11, who convinced his mom and dad to leave their warm house to go outside.

"I'm downstairs watching TV, relaxing and my son says, 'Dad, I want to go give out some socks,'" Rudy Washington Sr. said. "I said, 'OK, wait a minute.' He said, 'I'm ready, I'm ready.' I said, 'Lets go.'"

And on a dangerously cold night Rudy Jr. could be found armed with something simple but so essential.

"Hi, my name is Rudy Washington," he said to a homeless man. "I just wanted to let you know there are people out here that care about you guys."

"Thank you," the man replied.

"God bless you," Rudy Jr. said.

"I've been giving out socks to people," Rudy Jr. said. "We've just driven around giving out socks to the homeless."

And it's a sock drive mission Rudy started a year ago. He spent months collecting boxes and boxes of them.

UPDATE: Socks can be dropped off at Group 55 Marketing Suite 322 on the third floor of the Fisher Building. Donations will be accepted until December.

"Last year we stopped counting at 3,800 pairs of socks," Rudy's mom, Starr Washington said.

This year he's hoping to exceed that goal. As he interacts with those living on the streets he realizes why his sock drive is so important.

"I saw this one dude, he didn't have socks on, his shoes were too small," Rudy Jr. said. "He had a sign that said, 'Help, I need shoes.' I said, 'I have a box of socks. I might as well give him some.' It really crushes me to see people without stuff -- the necessities -- to stay alive.

Click here to learn more about Rudy's sock drive.