Every year, the students at Monsignor Michael O’Leary School in Bracebridge bring in donations of non-perishable food, but this time around, they added a special spin to the event by collecting socks, and they’ve already gathered over 400 pairs.
Teacher Sarah Geer came up with the idea for her class of Grade 2 and 3 students while putting together a lesson on acts of service. She often uses videos and other teaching tools with her students, and one of her favourite creators is Kid President, an online media personality who promotes kids and adults working together to change the world. She saw his video on Socktober and thought a sock donation drive would be a fun addition to the school’s longtime tradition of collecting food.
“The kids were so excited by it,” Geer said. “We made posters and the kids have made announcements on the PA and they collect [socks] every day. They’ve been promoting it and just having a lot of fun.”
They have 421 pairs so far and they’ll continue to collect sock donations until Oct. 28. Anyone who wants to contribute can bring donations of new socks to the Bracebridge-based school at 2 Tamarack Trail. On the last day of the initiative, the whole school will be participating in crazy sock day to celebrate.
The school will also hold Halloween dances for each division in the school on Monday. Non-perishable food donations are the students’ ticket in, so with a student population of about 300, they hope to collect a good haul for Manna Food Bank. Representatives from the food bank will come the next day to talk with students and collect the food and socks.
“I’m super proud of them,” Geer said. “I feel good that we’re able to provide something different, new and unique, and I would hope that the people receiving them would know that, ‘Hey, someone’s thinking about me.’”
Geer said her students have been in awe of how many sock donations they’ve received, and students and staff alike hope to keep Socktober going for years to come. Sam Robinson, president of Manna Food Bank’s Board of Directors, said it’s wonderful to hear how many socks they’ve collected and how much fun they’ve had doing it.
“The school has been hugely supportive of the food bank,” Robinson said. “It’s wonderful that young people are involved in this kind of a project because they’re learning that not everybody has the benefits that they may have, so it’s win-win for everybody.”
The client base at Manna has been growing over the last year, Robinson said, even during the summer months when they usually see numbers level off. New clients continue to sign on for services, so they’re preparing for a busy winter season at the food bank.
Any and all donations of non-perishable food are appreciated, but some of their most requested items include peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, pasta sauces and cereal.
The team at Manna has never received a donation of socks before, so along with being a fun event, it’s a timely extra gift for food bank visitors, she said. They usually stick to food, but past donations of Shoebox Project gifts and handmade toques have been meaningful additions.
“They really, really appreciate it,” Robinson said. “They’re receiving something that they might not be able to purchase themselves, but they’re also new items. Many clients might be purchasing from secondhand shops and this is a brand new item, so I think that means a lot to them as well.”
The socks donated by Monsignor Michael O’Leary School will be distributed to families alongside their usual food orders. The food bank pre-packs groceries for their clients, so after next week’s pick-up, the food boxes will include a pair of socks for each family member.
Robinson said their staff is thankful for the continued support of local students, and they can’t wait to see how many socks and non-perishable food items they end up collecting.
“Thank you so very much for thinking of others,” she said. “It was a very clever idea, and I’m glad they had a blast helping others in their community. We really appreciate it.”
To learn more about Manna Food Bank and how to donate, click here.