Struthers students collect nearly 3,000 socks for the homeless

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By Graig Graziosi


Students at Struthers Middle School spent Wednesday morning sorting nearly 3,000 pairs of new socks before donating them to the homeless as part of the school’s second annual participation in “Socktober,” a nationwide sock drive.

The socks will go to the Dorothy Day House and the Beatitude House, Catholic charitable organizations that provide shelter, services and necessities for individuals in need.

A group of 20 students spent the month of October collecting the socks.

Amber Bonilla, a teacher leading the students in the activity, said the children nearly tripled the number of socks they collected from the previous year.

“Last year we collected 1,000 pairs of socks, so this year we wanted to double that,” she said. “They just missed tripling it. They collected 2,900 pairs.”

Bonilla said the idea for the drive came from a class reading of the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio and a series of YouTube videos called “Kid President.”

A central theme in both the book and many “Kid President” videos is the need to be kind. The students were first made aware of Socktober through one of the videos and decided to participate.

“They called the Dorothy Day House and the Beatitude House themselves to see how we could help them the best with our drive,” Bonilla said.

For Bonilla, one of the most valuable aspects of Socktober is it provides students with a direct plan for living out the ethics and morality lessons they learn in school.

“This makes it real for them,” she said.

Anna Kistler, 13, is an eighth-grader who participated in the sock collection both years.

“I liked it because it was different from our normal school [activities],” she said. “But I still learned.”

When asked what she learned, Anna cited a quote from the “Wonder” book the class read.

“I learned that we should be nicer than necessary,” she said.

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