How two kids in the GTA have used laundry day as a starting point for giving back
BY LISA VAN DE GEYN
Leave it to a couple of kids who don’t even do their own laundry to figure out what to do with the bane of most people’s existence—random missing socks.
Carly Goldhar and Charley Rangel are total BFFs. The girls from Thornhill met in Grade 2 and are inseparable. They look like cousins, share the same sense of style and want to change the world. It’s the latter two similarities that really make these girls, now nearly 13, super special.
It started with wearing mismatched socks when they noticed singles were going missing on laundry day—it became their thing. “We decided it was cool—our own crazy style,” Goldhar says. But they had more in common than just their unique sock style—they were also getting more interested in helping people. “We’d go downtown with our families for events and concerts and we’d notice [people experiencing homelessness] lying in the streets,” says Rangel. “We researched on the internet and found that, other than food, socks were one of the most needed items in homeless shelters.”
So, they decided to combine their style with their eagerness to make a difference. “We knew that everyone must have mismatched socks lying around their houses that they have no use for,” Rangel says. And thus, the Odd-Sox Project was born. Goldhar and Rangel asked their parents if they could collect mate-less socks from neighbours and hold local sock drives. Their idea was to get a bunch of singles, pair them up, then donate them to shelters.
Three years later, their mismatched sock empire is still growing. And there’s more. Not only have the two girls spoken at conferences, they’ve also talked to students in schools across the GTA, hoping to inspire their peers to get involved. They’ve seen kids jump on board, organize sock drives, get friends to sort socks and make their own pairs to donate to shelters.
Goldhar and Rangel have appeared on TV (including Dragon’s Den, where they pitched Odd-Sox and ended up with two “dragons” buying in—offering $25,000 for a 25-percent stake in the business, which the “dragons” decided to give back to the project), they’ve been written about on EllenTube (an accompanying site for the Ellen DeGeneres Show) and the two even launched another business: Carly and Charley Single Sox. It’s their own Canadian-made sock line (the girls help choose styles and colours) that’s sold online and in the Bay. “Our socks are packaged in sets of three, so if one gets taken by the laundry-machine monster, you always have a spare,” says Rangel. “They’re very colourful and have inspirational words on them, so if you ever feel down, you can always look at your feet and turn your frown upside down.” For every set purchased, the girls donate a pair of socks to shelters—so far, they’ve collected more than 75,000 pairs and have received socks from all over Canada and the U.S.
“The best part is explaining how much we’ve helped those in need and how our mission has grown,” Goldhar says. “We want to let people know it doesn’t matter how old you are—anything can happen, even if you’re only 10. When we speak to people, we tell them how we got started and what they can do to help.” She adds that they’ve remained passionate about socks because they know they’re truly making a difference. “It’s our goal to make our mission global and we need everyone’s help. Just think—if everyone donated just one pair of socks, together we can warm billions of feet around the world. One sock at a time.”