PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As colder weather approaches, a Northeast Philadelphia boy is preparing for another winter of brotherly love. He calls it giving the gift of happy feet.
“This is, I think, 20. No, 12,” 12-year-old Declan Cassidy said.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: How Much Snow Will Major Nor'easter Dump On Your Area?
Thousands of people are already wearing socks, collected by Declan.
“These are different socks, too,” Declan said.
This is his third year collecting socks for the homeless and others in need. He calls it Declan’s Socks For The Streets.
The first year, he collected 1,005 pairs.
Last year, 9,223.
This year he hopes to beat it.
“That many socks, it’s a lot to donate. A lot of people will get them,” Declan said.
Declan’s mother, Jennifer Malazita, doesn’t mind letting boxes of socks take over the house. She is a volunteer for Never Surrender Hope, reaching out to people without homes in places like Kensington.READ MORE: CBS3 Mysteries: What Happened To Celina Mays, 12 Years Old And Pregnant, 26 Years Ago?
“They will put them into our hope bags that go out onto the streets,” Malazita said. “Socks are always needed down there. It’s one thing they love.”
Sometimes Declan joins them and meets the people who will wear his socks.
“It feels really good, because when you see them smile, you feel really good for yourself,” Declan said.
More socks will go to places like the Veterans Multi-Service Center and Women Against Abuse. Declan keeps people posted on his progress, a step at a time.
“We have a Facebook page,” Declan said. “Every few days we open all the socks and take a picture with them to show how many we got.
Declan hopes this year, he’ll collect more than ever, so he can get more socks on more feet.
“They get super happy, and they want to just keep getting more and more,” Declan said.
Declan’s sock drive ends Dec. 20.MORE NEWS: Major Preparations Underway At Jersey Shore, Philadelphia Region Ahead Of Winter Storm
His Facebook page has information on where to donate or even mail socks.