TAVARES — A Socktober campaign by the Tavares High School Teaching Academy collected 1,412 pairs of socks for Lake County’s homeless students and adults, their teacher said this week.
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Bonnie Watkins, the Teaching Academy instructor, said that when they first set their 1,000 pair goal at the end of September, they considered it “lofty.” She said she’d have been happy with 500. But when they first counted after nearly a month of collecting, they realized they had a shot of hitting it.
“About Monday, the 28th, we started counting and realized, ‘Oh my goodness, we have over 800 socks,’ ” Watkins said. In fact, they counted 880 that day.
In the school’s daily announcements, they went from asking people to bring in socks to saying the exact number they needed to hit their goal.
They saw more come in after that, and toward the end began to get socks from other schools that saw their campaign and wanted to help out.
“That’s just social media, it really is,” Watkins said.
Social media posts by Teaching Academy students were a primary driver of donations, Watkins said.
While they designed posters and placed them all around the school, they were also tweeting, posting to Facebook, Snapchatting and Instagramming all about the sock drive. It attracted attention from friends, family, community members and even students and administrators at other schools.
Overall, the Tavares students pulled in over 900 pairs of socks at their local collection at Tavares High School, Watkins said.
They also received hundreds more socks from other schools, like Tavares Elementary and Umatilla High, and from the class of UCF instructor Marni Kay, who is partnered with the Teaching Academy and often teaches as a guest.
The students began the lengthy task of packaging the socks this week before sending many of them to Lake County Schools Student Services Department, which houses the Families in Transition Program, to be distributed to homeless students in need.
The rest of the socks will be sent to homeless shelters and resources in the region.