"I know we're going to be keeping a lot of feet warm in this building," El Vista Elementary School student council Vice President Johanna Chavez said as she and classmates delivered more than 600 pairs of socks to the Modesto Gospel Mission on Wednesday morning.
The student council discussed a variety of ideas on how to help the community this school year, said President Andre Sedillo, "but the main thing we wanted to do was a sock drive" for the homeless because "it's getting cold and their feet might be freezing."
Treasurer Melanie Morton said a big collection bin was placed in the school office and students were asked to donate new pairs of socks. The sock total was counted each day so the student body could be updated.
The goal was to collect 500 pairs, said council Secretary Mercedes Zuniga, but the first day's tally was "really low, like 41 pairs." She said she thought they'd be lucky to reach their goal, so she was happily surprised when the final total — 639 pairs — was announced.
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"We're all grateful about having so many people donate socks ... and I'm just proud of everyone for bringing socks," Johanna said.
Teacher and student council adviser Bless Marrable-Smith said the drive got a boost from Baker Family Chiropractic Center, which donated a few dozen pairs.
After the kids decided on a sock drive, she said, they had to choose a beneficiary and, at the suggestion of Principal Don Jackson, chose Modesto Gospel Mission because it's part of their greater neighborhood. "I couldn't be prouder of our little Bulldogs on the project they decided to undertake," Jackson added.
The sock donation helps meet a "huge need" at the mission, said interim Executive Director Jason Conway. Every day, he said, the mission aids men, women and children who don't have socks or have been wearing the same pair for far too long. In the rainy winter months, there's always a need for clean, dry socks to replace ones that are soaking wet, Conway said.
Anyone looking to help those served by the Modesto Gospel Mission might consider donating to its upcoming annual Happy Birthday Jesus Party. The event begins at noon on Friday, Dec. 22, with a Christmas meal, followed by distribution of gifts for needy men, women and children in our community.
For more information, to donate gifts or volunteer, contact Constance at the mission, 209-225-2908.