Princess Jackson, a freshman at Texas Southern University (TSU) is on a mission to stamp out poverty in Houston – one sock at a time. Jackson founded Sock Out Poverty, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit organization when she was nine years old and has given out over 15,000 pairs of socks to people in need.
Jackson, whose mother Phyllis Burton serves as executive director for the organization, said she learned that socks are often an overlooked but much-needed personal item while at a blanket drive with her family.
“We saw the homeless with blankets, cardboard beds and shoes, but they didn’t have socks to help keep them warm. As a kid who loves fun, colorful socks, I thought this was the perfect way for me to give back to the community,” Jackson said.
Since then, Sock Out Poverty has received donations from Walmart, Sam’s Club, the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation and local businesses. Princess has also received attention on the silver screen for her cause when she appeared on the Steve Harvey and Tamron Hall shows.
“I was very nervous when I was on the Steve Harvey Show because there were a lot of thoughts going through my head, but once I took a deep breath, I started to enjoy our conversation,” Jackson said. “A lot of great opportunities began to open for me after I was featured on the shows. For example, I received many donations, and I had the opportunity to speak in front of over 800 kids in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
As a Texas Southern University freshman, Jackson said that running an organization such as Sock Out Poverty has helped prepare her for life as a college student majoring in Communications.
“The lessons that I learned with leading my organization is being able to adjust and build connections. There were times where plans changed, and I had to adjust to make sure the sock drives went smoothly,” said Jackson. “These skills prepared me for being a student at TSU by knowing how to build strong relationships with professors, classmates, and advisors; it also helped me become a quick thinker for when things don’t go as planned with assignments.”
Jackson has found a home away from home at the TSU campus.
“I love how supportive and caring my school is; everyone that I came across so far wants to help or see me succeed. The thing that I love the most about my school is how inclusive everyone is,” Jackson said. “I rarely come across anyone being negative, judgmental, or discriminating toward anybody. I also love how my school knows how to have fun, but we also know how to get our work done. It’s a nice balance at TSU.”
Her organization has provided socks to people in need across Houston, but also in Beaumont, San Antonio, Dallas areas, as well as in Georgia, California, Washington, D.C., Florida, New York, Alabama, and more.
In 2015, Princess received a proclamation from the City of Houston declaring July 7 as “Princess Jackson Day.” She was recognized in 2017 by Houston Mayor Annise Parker and in Congress by U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.
Jackson says her work is about spreading love and making a difference in people’s lives, no matter how small.
“It was an honor to be recognized for the work I do in the community. These awards helped me see that my work doesn’t go unnoticed, and I am truly making a difference. My reward is being able to put a smile on someone’s face and show them that there is a better part of humanity”
To donate to Sock Out Poverty, go to https://www.sockoutpoverty.org/donate.