Newton girl puts best foot forward with sock charity

By Julie M. Cohen 
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at 5:00 PM

Helping children experiencing homelessness is a daunting task. However, 12-year-old citizen Maya Schwarzberg is taking small, yet bold steps to address the problem by creating a charity that distributes donated children’s socks to those in need.

By the end of July, the Dexter Southfield student’s nonprofit, Sock Box for Kids, donated approximately 2,000 pairs of socks to Rosie’s Place in Boston.

“Socks are just a little something that people could easily give,” said Schwarzberg, a rising seventh-grader. “Most people have an extra pair of socks around.”

She first heard about sock drives on the radio, leading her to decide to start her own nonprofit that specifically helped kids.

When she told her parents about her idea, “They were happy that I wanted to make a difference in the world,” she said.

Although Schwarzberg and her parents built the charity’s website in the winter, it wasn’t until this summer that she found Newton locations with the space to host her donation boxes.

At first, she had no luck getting a response from Newton Public Schools, the local YMCA, grocery stores, and the library, so she kept emailing them every two-three weeks and showing up to speak with managers.

“I was very persistent,” she said.

Schwarzberg thought perhaps people didn’t initially respond because they “were uncertain what a 12-year-old girl would do” running a charity by herself. But, after repeatedly trying to get permission to leave her donations boxes, the following locations agreed: Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School, Ward Elementary School, Temple Emanuel and the West Suburban YMCA. She hopes to branch out into more locations in Newton and start putting boxes in Brookline.

Half of the 2,000 pairs of socks she was able to give to Rosie’s Place came from a large corporate donation and the other half was from individuals dropping them into her boxes. Eventually, she hopes to donate 10,000 (or more) pairs, especially as the seasons turn colder.To learn more about Sock Box for Kids, visit