The cold feet of people in need may be warmed up this winter thanks to three Ralph E. Waite Elementary third-graders and their peers.
Third-graders Abigail Nort, Hailey Getz and Katie Rubino led a sock drive last week with the assistance of Principal Cindy Grice. The Montville Township school exceeded its goal of 1,000 pairs of socks by collecting 1,373.
Socks will be donated to the SocksPLUS campaign through the Community West Foundation of Cleveland. The philanthropic organization helps provide food, clothing, shelter and medical care to those in need in Northeast Ohio.
“It was pretty exciting to see the number grow so quickly,” said Cindy Nort, Abigail’s mom. “I didn’t think 1,000 was attainable in five days.”
The idea stemmed from a family trip to a Cleveland Cavaliers’ basketball game in downtown Cleveland earlier this month when Abigail saw several homeless people on the streets.
“When we saw people in need, she wanted to give money or food or anything we could get out of my purse to give them,” Cindy Nort said.
The minute Abigail got home from the game, Cindy said her daughter was busy making posters to display at school. She enlisted the help of Hailey and Katie, who then brought the idea to Grice the next day at school.
“Kids can submit ‘light bulb ideas’ for changes in the school or to help the community,” Grice said. “The girls did their research and found the No. 1 thing people need, especially in the winter, is socks.”
Abigail, Hailey and Katie made an announcement every morning reminding students to bring in new socks for children and adults for the drive. At the end of the school day, the girls would make another announcement with the updated number of donated socks.
“I think it’s heartwarming,” Grice said. “They saw this and it affected them enough that they felt what they can do to help. That shows true leadership in itself. And to know and feel fortunate for what we have and what we can give to others in need.”
The fundraiser was showcased in a window display at the school.
“I was extremely proud of (Abigail) for wanting to help,” Cindy Nort said. “She always has a big heart and I knew something would come out of this.”
The elementary school celebrated its fundraising success with a “crazy sock day” Monday.
“I want to thank Principal Grice for helping the girls see this through,” Cindy Nort said. “She really encouraged them and helped them make a difference.”
Grice said the “light bulb” initiative was created last year. Since then, Grice said, the school has held multiple fundraisers that have stemmed from those ideas.
“Our goal is for the students to feel empowered and that they can be leaders,” Grice said. “Leaders don’t just have to be adults. Kids can make a difference, too.”
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.