PSHS club hosting sock drive for the homeless
After being inspired by the message delivered at the Josten’s Renaissance “Find your Grind” Conference at Cane Bay High School on March 13, students from the newly formed Philip Simmons High School (PSHS) Renaissance Purple Key Club wanted to do something to give back to the community.
“It was so uplifting and we really wanted to incorporate that service aspect into our school,” said ninth grade student and Purple Key Club member Annabelle Harris. “We are a brand new school, so we decided that we could make that our goal. We could be the school that really helps people out.”
Drawing creativity from the speaker at the conference, Mike Smith, who created the charity “Skate for Change” where he skateboards around cities and towns and hands out socks to the homeless, the students decided they wanted to conduct a sock drive during the month of April. Not only that, the club hopes to continue to collect various different items during each month throughout the year, explained freshman Colin Nemeth, who is also a member of the Renaissance Purple Key Club.
“We got in the bus after the conference and our minds were spinning,” said Nemeth. “Everyone was coming up with ideas and throwing ideas out. One that came up was to do a yearly drive where each month is a new item. Every month is a different item that we would collect.”
The next step for the club was to pitch their idea to the administration at PSHS. Upon hearing the students’ ideas, Renaissance Co-Coordinator Jay Watterworth explained that he was surprised at their commitment to service.
“It’s unreal to me that the first thing that they thought was serving others - not about how we can do stuff for ourselves,” said Watterworth.
Once the idea was approved, the community quickly caught wind, continued Nemeth.
“All of a sudden people were bringing socks in,” said Nemeth. “We have a sock thermometer downstairs that counts how many socks we’ve collected and it just shot up all of a sudden…It has been really cool to see the community to come together for something that three kids came up with.”
After learning of the drive via a Facebook post, Gildan, located on Clements Ferry Road, even chipped in and donated around 1000 pairs of socks to the drive, explained Michelle Cannon, vice president of marketing, design and merchandise for Gildan.
“Jason Greene, our director of distribution, saw a Facebook post and saw a need for socks and a sock drive,” said Cannon. “There are occasions where we have socks set aside that are either for donation or just something that was left from a full lot. When he saw that post, he took them over to the high school thinking they could use them.”
Two weeks ago, the drive’s total sock count was at 1,250, according to Watterworth. With a goal to collect 1,500 socks in total, the club is not far off. If interested in donating, community members can bring socks to the main office at PSHS. The club will also accept monetary donations in the form of cash or check, which will also be donated with the socks. The drive is accepting all types and sizes of socks for children, women and men.
Upon the conclusion of the drive, the club will be visiting homeless shelters in the area to deliver the socks, continued Watterworth.
“We’re going to find six or seven homeless shelters and pick a weekend and we’ll take the students involved to those shelters,” said Watterworth. “We’ll have them pre-boxed and will hand them out that way.”
Other PSHS students involved with the sock drive are ninth grade students Abby Szlosek and Maya Gerding and 10th grade student Hannah Pitchford.
Separate from the sock drive, Gildan also recently donated sweatshirts to the PSHS track team, explained Cannon.
“We’re always looking to support our local community,” said Cannon. “Being a big part of Charleston, we look for those opportunities where we can. When Jason was bringing the socks over, he did notice that the track team was quite cold, so he sent over several hoodies, which of course we make quite a lot of.”
For more information on the Josten’s Renaissance program at PSHS, email Mr. Watterworth at email@example.com.