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Highcliff students collect hundreds of socks

| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Courtesy of Amanda Hartle | North Hills School District
Highcliff Elementary sixth-graders Sabrina Teetzel, 13, and Bryanna Lawry, Julianna West and Sarah Mass, all 12, show off socks the student body collected during a sock drive for the Light of Life Rescue Mission on Pittsburgh's North Side. The girls live in Ross Township.

Students from Highcliff Elementary put their best foot forward by collecting socks for clients of the Light of Life Rescue Mission on Pittsburgh's North Side.

When frozen pipes burst at Light of Life Rescue Mission's donation center at 635 Ridge Ave. in January, the basement flooded with five feet of water before staff members discovered the mess. Heaps of donated clothes, shoes, toys and household items were ruined, according to Jessi Marsh, director of development.

“A couple of kids at school said that 500 bags of donations were destroyed,” said Sabrina Teetzel, a Student Council representative at Highcliff.

The Student Council decided to lead a campaign to help Light of Life replace a portion of its lost stockpile. When students learned that one of the most urgent needs was for socks, they launched a sock drive.

As a public-relations representative for the Student Council, Sabrina made posters to advertise the sock drive and promoted the campaign during morning announcements at her school. She also decorated the collection boxes.

“I wanted the people at Light of Life to have a lot of socks so they could stay warm,” said Sabrina, 13, a sixth-grader from Ross Township.

The goal for the drive was 500 new pairs of men's, women's and children's socks, but the goal was beaten by a wide margin with 731 pairs donated, said Patricia Figura, a Highcliff Elementary special-education teacher and Student Council co-sponsor.

The socks will be distributed during the food program at Light of Life Rescue Mission, in which as many as 300 warm meals are served to Pittsburgh's homeless and hungry men, women and children every day of the year.

“After dinner, people stop by the desk to ask for help with certain things, like getting a toothbrush or pair of socks,” said Marsh, 35, of Monroeville.

She estimated that the donated socks would keep the mission well stocked for two or three months.

“It was really sweet of the kids to collect socks for us,” Marsh said. “What a great way for our community to respond to a need.”

Figura was elated by the students' response, as well.

“But knowing our kids, I knew they'd meet their goal,” she said. “They always come through.”

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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