Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Something as Simple as Socks Can Mean a Lot

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Something as Simple as Socks Can Mean a Lot

Article excerpt

A pair of socks can make a real difference for a homeless person. Multiply that by 1,367 pairs of socks and that can mean a big difference for a lot of people.

Caroline Colville, a sophomore at Shady Side Academy, enlisted the aid of two of her friends to spearhead a "White Sock Drive" at the school.

Caroline was discussing possible service projects with her mother, Mimi, who was familiar with Operation Safety Net, a program of Pittsburgh Mercy Health System. Under the umbrella of Operation Safety Net, a White Sock Drive collects socks for those who have no home, according to Connie Murray, executive director of development for Operation Safety Net.

"Their feet get wet and cold and they are more susceptible to infections and sores," Ms. Murray said. "By providing new, clean white socks, we can greatly reduce these problems and make them much more comfortable."

The Colvilles live in Shadyside and Caroline, 15, said she was concerned about the homeless people she saw everyday.

"We would drive past the homeless people, and I thought it would be good to do something for them," she said.

Caroline asked her friends, Katie Bray McGhee and Gianna Pipitone, to help her with the sock drive. After receiving permission at both the senior and junior campuses of Shady Side Academy, the three decorated boxes and went to the elementary school, called the junior school, to talk to students in pre-K through fifth grade.

"We went during their assembly time, and I said things like, 'Raise your hand if you've been cold this winter.' And 'How many of you have warm socks?' I tried to make it real for them," Caroline said.

Caroline and her mother also decided to add an incentive - doughnuts for the class that collected the most socks.

"A bit of healthy competition is always good," said Ellen McConnell, head of the junior school.

Ms. McConnell said the teachers encouraged their students to collect socks, and the entire school tied the collection into the school's values, which are discussed during weekly assemblies. …

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