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Since October, students and teachers at Maplewood Elementary undertook a drive to collect as many socks as they could to donate to local charities, with an unusual reward for the class that gathered the most socks to donate.

The drive was orchestrated by Maplewood 4th grade teacher, Kristy Owens, and her students. The winning classroom ended up being Stephanie Chambers’ first-grade class, which was able to collect 137 pairs of socks for the drive. In total, the school gathered 507 pairs, according to Krista Stockman, Fort Wayne Community Schools’ spokesperson.

In December, the socks were donated to the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission and Charis House, an arm of the Rescue Mission that focuses on helping homeless women and children.

The Rescue Mission, which has operated in Fort Wayne since 1903, notes that its mission is “to provide, through the power of Jesus Christ, a home for the homeless, food for the hungry, and hope for their future.”

The agency is in the midst of building a new headquarters in downtown Fort Wayne. The new location, at the corner of Washington and Lafayette Streets, is expected to open in September 2020.

Folks at Maplewood school, located at 2200 Maplewood Road in Waynedale, knew that new, clean socks are one of the most requested items by those at the shelters, and decided to turn its drive into a competition to amp up the giving.

Teachers and administrators decided to see which class could donate the most socks. The winner – or the class that contributed the most socks –would get the prize of being able to duct tape the principle to a classroom wall.

And that incentive really lit a fire under the students’ philanthropy, according to Maplewood Principal Alexandra Trevino.

Once the winner – Ms. Chambers’ class – was determined, Trevino was led into one of the school’s classrooms, and made to stand on a cardboard box against a wall.

“Ms. Owens and her class helped cut the duct tape,” Trevino said, “and then – one by one – the students came up and put the tape across me and stuck it onto the wall. After a while of doing that, they finally just moved the box, and there I was, just stuck to the wall,” she said with a chuckle.

Trevino said the entire drive was not just a way to give local charities something they desperately need, but a teaching tool for her students, as well.

“This year, we’ve been talking a lot about community partnership,” she said, “there’s always a need for socks. And this is just a way for our students to learn more about citizenship and giving to others.”

Michael Morrissey
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Michael Morrissey

Michael is a professional writer and journalist. He attended South Side High School and Northwestern University. He has written for newspapers in Michigan City, Indiana; Pekin, Illinois; and Bradenton, Florida. He also has written for and edited websites in Florida and San Francisco, California. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer