Auburn fifth-grader organizes sock drive for homeless

Posted Nov. 12, 2013, at 5:32 a.m.
Last modified Nov. 14, 2013, at 6:18 p.m.

AUBURN, Maine — When you’re outside in November or December, and you’re not wearing socks, you are going to be cold, Auburn fifth-grader Patrick Myers said.

Myers, 11, just completed a sock drive at his Park Avenue Elementary School to help the homeless. This week, he delivered boxes of donated new socks to Hope Haven Gospel Mission in Lewiston.

During the past two weeks, the youngster worked on his “Socktober” sock drive.

Before school in the morning, he went to the main office to make announcements over the intercom, urging students and staff to bring in new socks.

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“Fact: About 600,000 people in the USA are homeless,” Myers said in one announcement.

“While you are shopping with your families this weekend, pick up some brand new socks,” he said in another.

By Nov. 8, new socks filled boxes in the school lobby in time for the Veterans Day delivery.

His principal, Vickie Gaylord, called him a leader.

Myers said he did it to help.

Socks are a necessity that some may take for granted, he said. “It’s helping people in need,” Myers said. “They are homeless, they don’t have socks. They’re going to be cold during the winter.”

Myers said he was inspired by an online video by “Kid President,” “Kid President” is 10-year-old Robby Novak, a YouTube sensation, who said the Internet should be used to do good things, not to create millions of “selfies.”

One of Novak’s videos is about “Socktober,” a drive to collect socks and other necessities for the homeless.

When he saw the video, “He said we could do that at our school,” said Kristina Myers, Patrick’s mother. “He came up with the whole list to talk to his principal.”

He scheduled an after-school meeting with Gaylord. Myers came to the meeting with his homework done, she said. He showed her an outline of what he wanted to do, video of “Kid President,” and explained how the drive could happen.

Gaylord gave her approval. The fifth-grader started a public relations campaign. He and his mother, Kristina, put up posters throughout the school and made fliers for students to take home. He also made morning announcements on the school intercom.

Students reacted with a common question: Why socks?

“Because it’s a basic need,” Myers said.

During recess and lunch breaks, Myers decorated sock boxes with markers and construction paper.

At the invitation of several teachers, he was a guest speaker in five classrooms, explaining his project and the need.

The response was good, Myers said. “Kids started bringing in socks the second week.”

The boxes were filled with white socks, ankle socks, gray socks, wool socks, socks with cat, heart and argyle designs.

Myers’ parents “are proud of me,” he said.

So was his principal.

“You were a leader with this initiative,” Gaylord told him.

“He learned that one person can make such a huge difference,” his mother said. “He said he wanted to do the project to make our town more awesome. He said, ‘If we make our town more awesome, we’ll make the world more awesome.'”

When they dropped off the socks at Hope Haven, “they had no socks,” Kristina said. “Socks and underwear are main needs.”

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