Rock the Socks!

Annual fundraiser brings in needed footwear

Members of the Marquette Alternative High School Women’s Literature class show off their crazy socks after the sock drive last year. MAHS English teacher Cindy DePetro — wearing the Superman socks — helped her students organize the “Rock the Socks” fundraiser that is going on again this week. Schools across Marquette county set up collection boxes for the public to donate new, winter socks for area charitable organizations to disperse. (Journal file photo)

MARQUETTE — Do you have a pair of socks with a bizarre pattern possibly not suited to the workplace? Or do you simply have “normal” socks to give away?

Either way, consider getting involved in this week’s Rock the Socks! fundraiser, which runs Monday through Saturday.

Participants in local schools are asked to decorate two boxes — one for adult socks, the other for youth/infant socks, decide to what organizations they’d like to donate, and advertise in their schools and with parents about the week-long drop-off sites at the buildings.

Donated pairs of socks then are to be counted, with the socks either gifted or dropped off at the chosen recipients’ places.

Cindy DePetro, an English/publishing/photography teacher at Marquette Alternative High School, said MAHS students distributed flyers last week to publicize the event.

“It is so important for the community,” DePetro said.

In 2012 when the Rock the Socks! campaign started, DePetro asked her English class to create a legacy for their fellow students and community that would help change and improve the area.

They discovered socks were the most requested but least donated item at homeless shelters and places that serve the homeless.

“I think the students were shocked how prevalent homelessness is in an area as cold as the Upper Peninsula,” DePetro said.

With that information, she said the students decided to have a threefold campaign: collecting socks for homeless shelters and other places, raise awareness for homelessness by holding a Friday Rock the Socks! gathering at the school, and pulling together kids of like minds and ages in a collaborative effort to help their community.

That’s why other schools were invited to take part in the campaign, she said.

The effort, DePetro stressed, is about collaboration, not competition.

DePetro said that when collected stocks are tallied at the end of the event, the numbers of socks collected by individual organizations and schools are not showcased. Instead, it’s just one final number.

School drop-off sites this year are: Marquette Alternative High School, Marquette Senior High School, Bothwell Middle School, Graveraet Elementary School, Superior Hills Elementary School, Cherry Creek Elementary School, Sandy Knoll Elementary School, the Marquette Area Public Schools Central Office, Westwood High School, Aspen Ridge School, Ishpeming High School, Negaunee High School, St. Christopher’s Preschool, the Northern Michigan University School of Education and the NMU Athletic Department.

Drop-off sites at participating businesses are: both locations of Mister McGregor’s Garden, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Select Realty, Profiles In Hair Design and all three locations of Embers Credit Union, formerly U.P. Catholic Credit Union.

A “Toss the Socks” event is planned for the MSHS girls basketball game against Negaunee scheduled for Tuesday. The freshman/junior varsity game will begin at 5:45 p.m., followed by the varsity game at 7:15 p.m.

Another “Toss the Socks” event is planned for the NMU-Ferris State hockey game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Berry Events Center. People are asked to wear “crazy socks” and toss donated pairs on the ice during the first intermission. Students in kindergarten through 12th grade who wear socks and toss pairs will be admitted free of charge.

Organizations receiving socks this year are: the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Janzen House, local elementary schools, the Giving Closet, the Women’s Center, Beacon House and Room at the Inn.

The tallies of previous years are: 1,000 in 2012; 2,900 in 2013; 5,146 in 2014; 3,912 in 2015; 3,075 in 2016; and 4,009 in 2017.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is