Introducing Chariot’s Cause of the Month!
For September, Knock Knock Give a Sock was chosen by Drew Schneider as Chariot’s first Cause of the month.
Every month, we will feature a nonprofit organization that a member of our team chose to support using Chariot’s own Donor-Advised Fund. We encourage everyone to join us in supporting these high impact organizations that have made it easier than ever to donate from your DAF.
Donating to Knock Knock Give a Sock with your Donor Advised Fund!
When Adina Lichtman met the Chariot team outside of Project Renewal Men’s Shelter in the East Village of Manhattan, the team wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from the “Meet Your Neighbor” dinner. Knock Knock Give a Sock (KKGS), a nonprofit that Adina founded in 2013, regularly hosts these kinds of events in partnership with shelters around the city and they are used to seriously surprising their guests.
Adina Lichtman, Founder of Knock Knock Give a Sock
“The first big surprise for me was right when we arrived and Adina was giving us some background outside of the building, we could see that she was on a first name basis with nearly every resident coming and going,” shared Drew Schneider, Chariot’s Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer. “It was clear right away that this was a person and an organization that were deeply embedded in the community they are serving.”
Once inside, the team was greeted by a large group of residents that were simply ecstatic to have so many visitors. They pulled Chariot teammates into their groups of friends to play games, show them around and share stories. As they all got to know each other and eventually sat down to share a meal together, Drew felt his preconceived stereotypes of a “homeless” person completely fade away.
“This is exactly what our work is about,” said Adina. “We are humanizing homelessness one sock at a time - or in many cases, one meal at a time!” The organization was born 10 years ago when Adina was pursuing her undergraduate degree in Social Work at NYU. She offered a sandwich to a neighbor on the street near her dorm, but he shared that what he really needed were socks.
Adina went back to her dorm and raced through the hallways, asking everyone if they had an extra pair of socks they could donate. The effort evolved into large-scale sock drives at campuses and companies, eventually processing over a million sock donations. Over time, Adina realized that while the effort was helping to meet the single biggest need of folks living in shelters, they weren’t doing enough to break down the barriers and stigma associated with folks that find themselves without reliable housing.
“Most people have these very dark mental images of what it means to be homeless and hold onto a lot of bias against unhoused people. In reality, over 95% of the 60,000 unhoused folks in New York City are living in shelters - not on the streets - and 1/3 of them are children,” shares Adina. “These dinners are a huge way that we tear down those walls, build more human connection and orient our supporters to take more action to solve the housing crisis in our community.”
For Drew, who grew up in suburban Ohio, moving to New York in 2021 was the first time he’d been confronted with homelessness in his everyday life. “This dinner was the first time I really got to know someone struggling with housing, learn about the intricacies of the challenge for them and it’s radically changed my perspective.”
The Chariot team visits Project Renewal Third Street Men’s Shelter with Adina
Drew got especially close with Adam (name anonymized), a relatively recent addition to the community at Project Renewal. Adam moved to New York City a few months ago from New Jersey, but he has quickly become a paternal figure to the whole group. He sat Drew down to teach him his favorite card game, introduced him to several of his friends, and shared a little bit of his back story.
“Adam was formerly incarcerated and despite being so bright and having so much to offer, it just puts unbelievable hurdles in the way of his employment and housing,” reflected Drew. “We really bonded over that meal - our team was even exchanging instagram handles and contact information with everyone. We didn’t just leave this dinner better informed about the housing crisis and the humans it impacts, we left with new relationships and a real imperative to discuss what we learned with as many people as possible.”
KKGS has been able to impact thousands of people in a similar fashion through their events and sock drives. It’s this kind of grassroots, mind-changing effort that is so critical to breaking the cycle of homelessness - and that’s why Drew is thrilled to select the organization as Chariot’s September Cause of the month.
KKGS uses Chariot’s Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) payment option in their donation forms, so Drew was able to make his donation from Chariot’s DAF in 15 seconds directly on their website. The company is encouraging everyone to try it out for themselves this September and see just how easy it is to support KKGS's effort to Humanize Homelessness with DAF giving in just 3 clicks.
Drew Schneider (left) poses with Adam (right) at the shelter