Counting on Socks and Underwear

Collection drive seeks basics for homeless youth
Collection bin at Eberwhite Sock Hop on Friday.

Collection bin at Eberwhite Elementary's Sock Hop on Friday.

When Jane Ferris led her class of first-graders through their math lesson on Monday, they counted underwear and socks – not their own, but a batch donated at a sock hop held Friday at their school, Eberwhite Elementary.

Once tallied, the items will be added to donations from around the county, part of the Education Project for Homeless Youth‘s Sock Drop Drive to provide basic clothing for kids whose families can’t afford it on their own.

Peri Stone-Palmquist, coordinator for the Education Project, said this is the first time they’ve done this type of clothing drive, and that the economy is a factor: A lot more people are asking for basic clothing, while local thrift shops don’t have as much, because of the higher demand. And, she added, “who wants to get underwear at a thrift shop?”

The drive, which runs through February, is collecting unopened packages of underwear and socks in all sizes. The goal is to provide enough for 300 homeless children countywide.

Here’s where you can make drop-offs:

  • The front desk of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, 1819 S. Wagner in Ann Arbor (between Liberty and Scio Church): Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
  • Morgan and York, 1928 Packard, Ann Arbor: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, noon-6 p.m.
  • Mast Shoes, 2517 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor: Monday-Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Beezy’s Café, 20 N. Washington, Ypsilanti: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.

The sock hop at Eberwhite was a natural fit. Stone-Palmquist had mentioned the drive to Jennie Hale of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, which had given the Education Project a grant to buy shoes for homeless children. Hale is the mother of a 5th grader who attends Eberwhite, and thought the school’s annual sock hop – this year called the Decades Dance – would be a great place for them to collect the clothing. She contacted Natalie Davidson, who coordinated this year’s dance, as well as PTO officers Trixi Packmohr and Molina Serr.

The tally from that event? 450 pairs of socks, and 350 pairs of underwear. (Trixi Packmohr, who provided The Chronicle with those figures, noted that it’s still a rough estimate. We’d guess it’s close enough to make a story problem out of it: How many total articles of clothing did they collect?)

Jennie Hall and xx sell tickets and take donations of underwear and socks at Eberwhite Elementary on Feb. 6.

Jennie Hale and Laura Hopkins sell tickets to the Decades Dance and take donations of underwear and socks at Eberwhite Elementary on Feb. 6.


  1. By Susan Whitaker
    February 10, 2009 at 7:28 pm | permalink

    My now 5th grader, Gus, had Jane for 1st grade. She is such an inspired teacher; a real good egg. :-)

  2. By Emily Palacios
    February 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm | permalink

    The Eberwhite community does an awesome job of involving the kids in charitable projects and giving back to their community. The December Flea Market raised a considerable sum for the Ann Arbor News’ Warm the Children project. In the fall, the kids lay new wood chips on the paths through the Eberwhite Woods, a wood lot adjacent to the school that is owned by the school district but is well used by all in the neighborhood.

  3. By Barbara Hubbard
    February 14, 2009 at 12:53 pm | permalink

    As a visiting grandparent of the Davidson twins (5th grade), I was very pleased to see the school include the kids in this project. I see the homeless every day where I work and I know anything they receive is very appreciated. Bravo to the kids and what a life lesson to learn at such an early age.