By Greg Little
When most people hear the name Javon Patterson they envision the 6’3”, 310-pound NFL prospect. They think of the four-year starting left guard for the Ole Miss Rebels. They remember a four-star recruit and the top player coming out of Mississippi in the 2015 class. But what they might not remember is Patterson’s Locker.
Not his actual football locker, but the sock drive the graduated senior started in hopes of donating to the homeless shelters of Mississippi.
Although some people will only remember him due to his on-field accolades, and the wins, he’s also impacted his teammates and taught them how to be positive influences, how to be empathic, and how to reach into the community off the field, they said.
These attributes are all very prevalent in Javon’s selflessness to start Patterson’s Locker.
Patterson is Mississippi made, and being from the small town of Petal he has seen the effects of homelessness in his state. Being an already graduated senior, Patterson felt the need to allocate his time more wisely. He felt the need to be a part of something bigger than himself, just like he is on the team.
“Being a four-year starter in the SEC, I felt the need to use my platform better than I had been. After hearing many people come speak to the team, like Rachel Baribeau, I saw the effects these people can have first-hand when they use their voice to better the lives of others,” he said.
After coming up with the idea of a sock drive, Patterson pitched it to some of the media and community involvement members of the football team. Head Coach Matt Luke is behind Patterson’s endeavors 100 percent, he said.
“His love for people is why he is a great person to carry something like this out and reach many different people,” Luke said.
They instantly saw Patterson’s passion about the issue, and they committed to helping him however possible. By spreading the word via social media, Patterson designated two days, Oct. 15 and 16, as drop-off days, to collect the socks. However, the word spread all across the country as people from across the country reached out to him.
The overwhelming support caused him to extend the collection to a whole week. Encouragement came from every direction as Oxford and Petal Middle Schools both had sock drives, along with several fraternity and sorority houses on campus. Some even shipped socks from as far west as California.
Patterson’s Locker began to surpass everyone’s expectations.
“Going into this whole process, I just wanted to be able to make a small difference in my home state. We didn’t have too high of a goal, but we more than doubled what we even imagined,” he said.
Patterson’s Locker has been a huge success, collecting more than 12,000 pairs of socks. Patterson’s actions did not go unnoticed by the SEC Committee. He was the recipient of the 2017 SEC Community Service Team, as well as a 2018 Wuerffel Trophy Watch List—the nation’s premier award for community service.
Patterson said he will continue to use his platform to impact the lives of others.