Community Champions: Sock-It to Winter Sock Drive

Mar 1, 2024 | Community Champions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Ian Bin


Who Are You?

My name is Tabu Mcknight, and I am the proud owner of Tabu’s of Reno Barber Lounge in downtown Reno. We are hosting a sock drive called “Sock-It To Winter,” a concept going strong for about seven years. The credit for the catchy name goes to my wife, Ebony—she’s the brainchild behind it, and I must give her a well-deserved shoutout. This initiative is our way of giving back to the community, an extension of our previous involvement with the Boys and Girls Club, where we provided haircuts to kids in need for nine years. Although we didn’t host the event this year due to a change in coordinators, we are passionate about our community work and look forward to organizing our event next year. Each year, we select a different organization to support through “Sock-It To Winter,” we’re always ready to help when people ask for socks or other necessities. We’re genuinely grateful for the opportunity to contribute.

What inspired you to get started here in Reno?

The inspiration wasn’t specifically for a sock drive but about fulfilling a need. Reno’s higher altitude means colder temperatures, and I learned that socks are precious here—practically liquid gold. When I discovered that socks were the most needed item, followed by clothes and blankets, I started at the top of the priority list. We also distribute coats; we’ve partnered with Patagonia and other organizations. But socks remain our focus because they’re essential. My own experiences have also influenced this drive. There were times when I had very little, and I remember having to wear the same clothes repeatedly, sometimes even damp socks. I understand what it’s like to be without. My desire to give stems from a belief that it’s a blessing to be able to do so. As someone who identifies with Christian values, showing love to others is essential, a lesson my father instilled in me. This drive isn’t about recognition or financial gain but heartfelt giving.

How has the community in Reno responded to your sock drive initiative? Are there any memorable moments or stories you have from your experience?

The community’s response has been overwhelmingly positive. However, some were initially surprised to see a barber spearheading such an initiative, as they usually expect churches or large organizations to do so. There have been memorable moments; I once met a man striving to secure a job as a server for the Reno ACES. He desperately needed essential items, needed clean socks, and didn’t own a dress shirt. Coincidentally, I had a white dress shirt in my car, which I had kept for emergencies. At that time, we were also distributing hygiene bags. I offered his wife one of the hygiene bags, although I had no clothes. I then presented him with a white dress shirt and clean socks. The expression of gratitude on his face was priceless. He talked to me about how much it meant to him just to be acknowledged and helped in such a personal way. He ended up getting that job, which was awesome. I was super happy for him – it just shows that a bit of kindness can go a long way, you know? Honestly, it’s the best feeling when you see someone make it because of the little help they got. I’m still determining where they’re at now or if they’ve managed to get off the streets, but moments like this make you want to keep doing good stuff for others. Oh, and there was this one kid who came in for a haircut, no coat or anything, and it was pretty chilly out. His cousin had a coat, but he didn’t. So I remembered I had this brand-new Patagonia coat stashed away. I went down to grab it, and when I gave it to him, his eyes lit up. “Oh my God, this is crazy,” he said. His cousin said, “That’s a legit Patagonia coat.” I said, “Yeah, man, it’s all yours.” You should’ve seen the change in him. He walked out like he’d just won $1,000,000. It’s those little things, man. They might seem small, but they can turn someone’s world around. I can’t make up stuff like that.

For those who want to continue contributing, are you still taking donations?

Yeah, we’re always up for taking donations, you know? We’re doing it all year round, but we push for it at the end of the year when everyone’s out shopping and in the giving mood. Anyone can drop by the barber shop anytime or ring us at 775-786-0306 if they want to contribute. And hey, if you’re more of a social media person, hit us up on our socials. Whether you’re looking to donate, join in, or even if you’re part of another group that’s keen on teaming up, that’d be awesome. We’re all about working with different community folks to make a more significant impact. Sure, we hand out food, too, but our main gig is usually socks, coats, etc. But when we head out, we’re all about sharing food. If you’re into cooking or delivering goods to people who need them, that’s brilliant. There are loads of smaller organizations out there that could use a hand, ones we might still need to learn about, so getting involved with them is something we’re open to. It’s all about helping the community grow, right? So, yeah, reach out whenever you like, any time of the year. We’re rolling into 2024 and have the same goals—collecting thousands of pairs of socks to help as many folks as possible. And who knows? Maybe we’ll add some new stuff, like shoes or other essentials. We’re all about keeping the momentum going and spreading as much love as possible through what we do. That’s the plan!

Ways To Reach Out:

Recent Posts