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Students Sock It to the Community


As soon as the class decided on its next charity project, eighth-grader Kolten Wolf was on board.

“When I heard about ‘Socktober’ I texted all of my cousins and asked everyone I knew to help out,” he said. By the end of the first week, Kolten had donated more than 30 pairs of socks for the cause.

The idea is based on a YouTube challenge to help the homeless by video character Kid President’s creator Brad Montague and actor Rainn Wilson’s media company SoulPancake four years ago. Middle school students chose “Leave it better than I found it” for this year’s theme.

Seventh-grader Dayqwuan Jones studies a jar of candy to guess the number of kisses

“We are trying to think of ways to leave people or places better than before we were there,” said teacher Jill MacLaren. “And this idea fit.”

Why socks? Because shelters and secondhand stores generally do not get them. “Most people wear socks until they have holes, so they do not get donated,” she said.

The month of collecting socks culminated in an after-school ‘Sock Hop,” complete with snacks, a photo booth, dancing and a variety of games for the students.

The dress-up photo booth was a highlight: from left are eighth-graders Emily Neiderheide, Cambrie Johnson and Grace Willitts

The final count of donated socks totaled over 1,200 pairs, including 1,180 new and 142 pairs of gently used socks, plus $56 donated cash to purchase more.

The majority of the socks will go to local charities. They include North Connect, which services the Cedar Springs community with day-to-day needs such as food, clothing, emergency shelter and other services.

But the students didn’t have to wait until the end of October to see that they were providing a needed service.

“We have already delivered three large bags of donated socks to New Beginnings (High School), because the principal there told us that they had students who needed some,” said MacLaren.

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Janice Holst
Janice Holst
Janice Holst is a reporter covering Kent City and Sparta. She has been both a teacher and a journalist. A former MLive reporter, she wrote features and covered local government and schools for Advance Newspapers for nearly two decades. She also was a recipe columnist and wrote features for Mature Life Style and occasional entertainment pieces for On The Town magazines. She lives in Sparta Township and enjoys spending some of her retirement hours writing the stories of the northern Kent County school districts. Read Janice's full bio or email Janice.

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