Clark County students compete to collect socks for homeless

Kenton Ridge High School senior, Emily High sorts through socks that were donated for this year’s Sock Challenge. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Caption
Kenton Ridge High School senior, Emily High sorts through socks that were donated for this year’s Sock Challenge. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Emily High was a freshmen at Kenton Ridge High School when she began volunteering at Springfield Soup Kitchen four years ago.

Last year around her junior year, High wanted to find a way to help the patrons of the soup kitchen. She asked Fred Stegner, president of the organization, what they needed most and he replied “socks.”

“I have over 250 people come in each night, a lot of whom have foot problems,” Stegner said. “The problems arise when they can’t afford to wash their cloths or their feet.”

READ MORE: Champaign County students learning to fly, other real-world skills

Stegner, who has been in charge of the soup kitchen for around eight years, says that many of the kitchen’s patrons wear the same pair of socks for an extended period of time.

“Normally people change their socks every day,” said Stegner. “Can you imagine wearing the same pair for a month straight?

High teamed up with her high school’s Leo Club, an extension of the Lions Club International, and came up with a competition with Northeastern High School last year to see which school could come up with the most socks per student enrollment.

“Socks are a luxury that most people don’t think of,” High said. “I knew that this would be an easy thing for students to collect.”

The competition collected 562 pairs of socks last year, which were donated to the soup kitchen and distributed to their patrons.

RELATED: Springfield looks to teachers for help on restructuring high school

Now a senior at Kenton Ridge, High hopes her high school collects at least 1,200 pairs of socks for this year’s competition, which has been expanded to include Northeastern, Northwestern and Shawnee high schools.

“I’m thinking that we are going to get around 3,000 pairs (total),” said Sherri Bennett, the Leo Club adviser at Kenton Ridge. “Our initial goal was to double what we collected last year.”

The Leo Club, which ran the competition last year, has teamed up with the high school’s National Honor Society to reach more students.

With projects such as making a promotional video and hosting a pajama day at the school, High believes that more students are taking the competition seriously.

“Once people saw the promotional video and we had a pajama day, I think that they realized that this is something that is going to a really good cause,” High said.

The competition ends today at 3:45 p.m. as student count all four school’s donations. The socks will be distributed to Springfield Soup Kitchen, Interfaith Hospitality homeless shelter, Oesterlen Services for Youth and an elementary school in the Springfield City School District.

About the Author