Long Beach gym owner gets resourceful with socks for the homeless

Thursday, August 29, 2019
Long Beach gym owner gets resourceful with socks for the homeless
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Gio Ferraro makes socks for the homeless, with resources and services printed on them, out of her downtown Long Beach gym.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Gio Ferraro is a gym owner in downtown Long Beach, where she wants to Keep LBC Fit, in more ways than one.

"Keep LBC Fit is a nonprofit organization that was put together to get our fitness community to give back," said Ferraro.

Ferraro knew she wanted to make a difference in the homeless community after her father, who was homeless, passed away in the Palm Springs area 14 years ago.

Ferraro started by giving out cards, which listed resources and services, to homeless people in Long Beach.

"The problem was, you hand a card to someone and you come back 20 minutes later and the card is on the floor or on the bench," Ferraro said.

That's when the light bulb went off.

"Socks is something in high demand out there, so I figured, what if we printed these resources on a pair of socks?" said Ferraro. "They're not going to leave those behind."

Six months ago, Ferraro raised the funds to purchase two textile printers. Above her gym, Groundwork Fitness, Ferraro prints and assembles the socks in a dedicated space for Keep LBC Fit.

This is how it works: for every pair of socks purchased, another pair goes to someone in need.

Ferraro's story gets even better.

"We employ part-time work to those experiencing homelessness, so the people making the very sock that we're giving out are people experiencing homelessness," Ferraro said.

One of those individuals is Derek Meekins. Meekins became homeless in 2017, but recently started working with Keep LBC Fit.

"I've just been granted a second chance at being productive at life," said the Long Beach native, who just secured his own apartment. "I believe in Keep LBC Fit."

For more information about Ferraro's mission, visit Keep LBC Fit's website.