Rock the Socks

Thousands of socks collected during 2019 drive

Participants of Marquette Alternative High School’s Rock the Socks campaign are seen donating socks from this year’s sock drive to the Marquette Women’s Center. (Photo courtesy of Cindy DePetro)

MARQUETTE — Once again, Marquette Alternative High School’s annual Rock the Socks campaign has collected thousands of socks for those in need.

This year’s donations totaled 5,652 pairs of socks.

The event, which began seven years ago in the classroom of Marquette Alternative High School teacher Cindy DePetro, takes place each December and asks the community to donate socks to be given back to local organizations that help those in need.

Students decorated posters and donation boxes, which were placed at various local businesses to collect socks for all ages. They then got to experience giving back to their community firsthand by delivering the socks.

“The process of inviting schools and businesses, making fliers, involving the university and businesses, decorating drop-off boxes, posting reminders and fliers around town to get donations, counting donations, dividing our donations based on needs and delivering socks to the various organizations is special to me because I get to see the kids experience the entire process, from beginning to end,” DePetro said in an email. “They see the work, collaboration, giving and receiving parts of this campaign.”

St. Vincent de Paul, the Marquette Women’s Center, the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Janzen House, Beacon House, the Room At The Inn, Salvation Army, the New Free Store in Harvey, the Forsyth Township Senior Center and area elementary schools were among this year’s recipients.

DePetro said as a teacher she works to help youth become productive members of society each day. Through this campaign, she has seen how even something as simple as a pair of socks can teach a big lesson.

“I enjoy seeing life experiences come full circle. Our students receive donations and grant money to help them through their difficulties, so it is important to see them understand what goes into a process this big, and how good it feels to pay it forward,” she said. “I also like that they get to think beyond their needs and see that they have opportunities to make a difference within their community. That’s what I enjoy about this. Of course, helping others is the goal, but giving youth the chance to be givers and to express empathy is what I love about this project.”

Rock the Socks has also taught DePetro a life lesson of her own. After the passing of her husband just before last year’s sock drive, she wasn’t sure if she could make the campaign come to fruition as she was still grieving the loss of her husband.

However, she was able to focus on the need to help others and 2018 ended up being the biggest Rock the Socks campaign yet.

“Even in difficult times, we need to learn from others,” DePetro said.

Over the last seven years, DePetro has seen Rock the Socks grow from its start in her classroom to a community movement.

She is looking forward to working with a new group of students on next year’s Rock the Socks campaign and seeing its continued growth, she said.

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.


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