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St. John Third-Graders Give Socks, Backpacks for Those in Need

Apr 07, 2016 01:43PM ● Published by Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | julie@mycityjournals.com

Draper - St. John the Baptist third-grader Devan James brought socks and personal hygiene items to his school so those in need would know that “someone cares.”

As part of the school’s third annual Socks of Love community service project, third-graders brought in socks, personal hygiene items, coloring books and crayons to give to The Road Home Overflow Shelter in Midvale. Ninety backpacks and pairs of socks, one set from each St. John the Baptist third-grader, were delivered March 2.

“I brought in as much as I could because these people don’t get gifts every day and will really appreciate what they receive and can use. Helping people is nice. It’s the best gift since it brings them such happiness,” Devan said.

The students each brought in items; then they rotated through different stations as they stuffed the socks with body lotion, toothbrushes, combs, toothpaste, deodorant and soap, third-grader Castle Huggard said.

“I learned how to cooperate as a group to do something nice for people,” Castle said. “It’s this kind of help that someone needs.”

The students also stuffed donated backpacks full of similar items and included coloring books and fruit snacks.

“I wish we could have included more fun things like toys for them,” third-grader Blake Ballard said. “Cooler things would be nice, but more important is the items they need to survive.”

Still, Devan said a simple touch he would like students to include next year would be a note letting them know someone cares.

“It’s little words that show them we care and give them encouragement that can make a difference,” he said.

During a Feb. 16 presentation by the shelter at their school, a cot was set up, and next to it a small box where shelter residents’ belongings can be placed. 

“All the things they own have to be in that box. They don’t have TV or Xboxes; they need food and water. They have to make hard choices of what they have,” Castle said.

Devan pointed out that students learned that the hard choices also became life choices.

“The parents would have to choose if they want their children to be educated or do they want a house. Sometimes that is what led them to The Road Home — they want their kids to go to school, so they can’t afford to pay bills and house payments,” he said.

Director of Advancement Nevah Stevenson said that it was a powerful message for the students.

“For them to visually see what people have to decide, how little they own, how they end up in shelters — it was a vivid picture that is really heartbreaking but resonated with the students,” she said.

St. John the Baptist Home School Association president Tina Fields said that it was inspiring to see students take the message to heart.

“This project was a great one for our students in learning the importance of service to others,” she said. “With all the supplies that were donated, the students got to see with their own eyes all the things we take for granted that families in need go without.”

The idea of creating Socks of Love came from teacher Wendy Baca, who brought it to the school when she joined the faculty three years ago.

“We are really honored to team up with an amazing organization like The Road Home and its community winter shelter. The St. John the Baptist community was so excited to participate in the projects. We were overwhelmed with all the support from our families. The students have really taken to heart the message of service to others. They are already asking when we can put together our next drive for families in need,” Fields said. 

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