Socks in San Francisco

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Socks in San Francisco

MV freshmen walking around in S.F. handing out bags to the homeless.

MV freshmen walking around in S.F. handing out bags to the homeless.

Chris Conner

MV freshmen walking around in S.F. handing out bags to the homeless.

Chris Conner

Chris Conner

MV freshmen walking around in S.F. handing out bags to the homeless.

Raquel Montelindo, Feature Editor

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This December, the MV freshmen leadership class made a difference in homeless people’s lives by collecting an item that is often forgotten but vital to the homeless: socks.
The idea of creating care packages with socks and other necessities was originally introduced to Chris Connor, Monte Vista’s freshman leadership teacher, by Mike Smith. Smith is the founder of Skate for Change – an organization that has chapters stationed internationally to help those in need around them.
As stated on their website, the purpose of the Skate for Change program is to help “chapters across the globe take a look at what their city needs, what their people need, and then take action. Whether it is handing out socks, or cleaning up parks, Skate for Change is all about showing up and giving back in the belief that everyone has value.”
The donation and handing out of care packages began in 2017 with the freshman class of 2021. The students collect the supplies, create the bags, and eventually go to San Francisco to hand out the bags to the city’s homeless.
“The students had to hand out the bags and look the homeless in the eye, instead of ignoring them like what most people do when they see a homeless person because they don’t want to give them money,” Connor said.
The program was incredibly successful in their first year. Their goal was initially 75 bags, and the freshman leadership class wasn’t expecting the response they got from the drive. A total of 270 bags were created with the donations from the Monte Vista community in 2017.
After last year’s success, Connor decided to set a new goal of 200 bags this year. He and the freshman were determined to meet that goal, no matter the effort it took.
“The goal was to collect 200 bags,” Connor said. “We were committed to filling up 200 bags – even if we had to buy [items] ourselves.”
Freshman Vice President Adarsh Pillai was surprised by the sheer amount of donations the class received this year.
“So far we have a lot more [donations] than we expected,” Pillai said.
William Lee, another member of the leadership class, had a similar reaction as Pillai.
“It’s been a general success — we have 300 of everything [on the list],” Lee said. “The boxes are overflowing.”
The actual handing out of bags occurred on Dec. 1 in San Francisco.
“We walk around the city on a path we set and hand out the bags directly,” Pillai said.
Walking through the city and seeing all the people in need of support was eye-opening to the freshmen class.
“It was interesting because in Danville you didn’t see that much, but you see it a lot in San Francisco,” freshman Reda Aboukalil said. “It went really well. It helps a lot of people. [Even though] it’s not always going to change their life, it’s always good to help those in need.”
Connor believes the collection and distribution of supplies have a major effect on the homeless and students alike.
“[The bags] make an impact,” Connor said. “It’s better than a dollar for a McDonald’s hamburger.”

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