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Published: Saturday, 2/16/2013

Perrysburg's Woodland Elementary School students step up with socks for charity

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Second-graders Anthony Kovacs, 8, left, Nikhil Methi, 6, and Adrianna Magers, 8, hold papers with ideas about ways they could help people in their communities as they listen to a presentation at Woodland Elementary.by Robin Laird, Hannah’s Socks board member and assistant principal at the junior high. Second-graders Anthony Kovacs, 8, left, Nikhil Methi, 6, and Adrianna Magers, 8, hold papers with ideas about ways they could help people in their communities as they listen to a presentation at Woodland Elementary.by Robin Laird, Hannah’s Socks board member and assistant principal at the junior high.
THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Students at Perrysburg’s Woodland Elementary School are small in stature, but they’ve got huge hearts.

The students this week have been collecting hundreds of new socks on behalf of “Hannah’s Socks,” a nonprofit organization that gives new socks to homeless and domestic violence shelters and others in need.

Other Perrysburg students this week have had several opportunities to participate in Random Acts of Kindness, including students at Fort Meigs Elementary School.

Robin Laird, a board member for the Hannah's Socks charity organization, met with Woodland students in first through fifth grades Thursday to explain why their efforts are so important. Ms. Laird is also an assistant principal at Perrysburg Junior High School.

“Think about it,” Ms. Laird told the students. “In the morning many of you just open up a drawer, grab a pair of socks, and put them on. You don’t even think about it.”

Other people aren’t as fortunate, Ms. Laird said.

PHOTO GALLERY: Woodland Elementary students learn about Hannah's Socks

Lynn Cherry, a second-grade teacher at Woodland, said the sock drive is part of a service learning project designed to teach students the importance of being compassionate. Ms. Cherry organized the schoolwide project.

The message resonated with some students.

“Some people don’t have socks,” said second-grade student Ellie Garst, 8, as she tried to explain the importance of the effort. “Our school is going to give them socks to keep their feet warm if they don’t have shoes.”

After visiting with Ms. Laird in the school cafeteria, the students returned to their classrooms and brainstormed on other ways they could help people in need.

Eight-year-old Chris Carpenter suggested giving toys to sick children. His second-grade classmate, Evan Boyerl, also 8, said children his age could help the elderly shovel their driveways and sidewalks.

Second-grader Laci Pierce came up with an idea to help “old” people, “like 83 or 66 years old,” cross streets. “So that they don’t get hit by a car or trip,” the 8-year-old student explained.

Hannah’s Socks was inspired by the real-life efforts of Perrysburg resident Hannah Turner, now 12, while she was helping to serve Thanksgiving Day meals at Toledo’s Cherry Street Mission in 2004. She was 4 years old at the time.

After noticing a man wearing worn-out shoes with no socks, she convinced her mom, Doris Turner, to help her collect and donate more than 100 socks to people in the Toledo area.

In 2012, the charity collected and distributed 250,000 socks in the Toledo area, Ms. Laird told students.

Woodland students are collecting the socks through today.

Earlier in the week, Fort Meigs students donated spare change for those who suffered devastating loss during Superstorm Sandy; they donated hats, gloves, scarves, and boots to families who are provided services at Family House in Toledo; they donated toys, art supplies, snacks, playing cards, and other items for care packages for Elias Adin’s Comforting Hearts Inc. to help comfort children and their families who are battling cancer.

Fort Meigs students also had the chance to donate socks for the Hannah's Sock outreach effort, and students could donate to Central City Ministry, a consortium of two elementary schools located in central Toledo, gently used children’s book to help children start or grow their at-home libraries, fostering a love of reading to young children.

Too, the Fort Meigs students were encouraged to add extra Valentine's Day cards when writing out the holiday cards. Those extra cards were destined for residents in nursing homes in Perrysburg.

Other opportunities for the Fort Meigs students included recycling used cell phones to help provide troops with free calls with prepaid phone cards from Cell Phones for Soldiers.

Contact Federico Martinez at: fmartinez@theblade.com or 419-724-6154.



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