December 1, 2021

Cortland High students collect nearly 1,800 pairs of socks

Stepping up for charity

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Cortland High School 9th-grader Jaden Fitch pours out bundles of socks on Wednesday to be donated to those in need in the area.

Baby socks, kids socks, men’s socks, women’s socks.

Socks, socks, socks.

Cortland high schoolers have been sock-focused, as they took part in Sock-tober last month, collecting 1,729 pairs of new socks to donate to charity.

Seventh-grader Heather Northup was having fun helping count socks with some friends in a room of the high school Wednesday.

“I remembered sock counting was today and I was like, ‘Socks!,’” Northup said. “’I donated and I need to go count them!’”

Their reward? Free pizza — And the knowledge their donations will help local families.

But while the counting of so many socks was fun, for some, the donations could make a world of difference.

Senior High School Principal John Zarcone stood Wednesday watching the seventh through 12th graders counting the socks.

He came up with the idea of having the kids donate socks after searching for a motivational video to show to his homeroom and coming across one about Socktober. He learned socks are the most needed and least donated item for the homeless.

His goal is for students each year to participate in an event that helps people in need, so he decided this year the high schoolers would donate socks.

He placed collection boxes throughout the high school and the elementary school. Staff, students, residents — all took part. Zarcone joked Big Lots must have sold out because of its sock sales.

Last year the school donated hair from 22 people through the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program. It will go to making wigs for people on chemotherapy or fighting other illnesses.

Zarcone wants to instill in the students the importance of giving back to and being involved in their local community.

“It fits in with the sense of giving and doing good for people who are less fortunate,” Zarcone said.

The yearly venture also aligns with the school’s positivity project, he said, which encourages discussion among students about positive character traits.

The socks will be given to the Cortland County Community Action Program, Zarcone said, because the organization will give them to families in need, not sell them.

Zarcone had set the goal at collecting 1,000 pairs of socks so he was happy the students exceeded that.

“I’m really happy we went above the goal,” he said. “That’s a lot of feet that are gonna be taken care of.”

Socks will be available for pick for those in need from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 32 N Main St., through the Family Essentials program.