The Concord High SOCK (Save Our Cold Kids) Club is always looking for new ways to help out.
In March and April, the group of 40 students arranged a new sock drive that netted more than 300 pairs. Earlier in the school year, they got fellow students to create about 1,400 cards to send to military personnel overseas as part of the Holiday Card Challenge and did a collection afterwards for unused blank cards that brought in more than 1,000 to be used for this year’s drive.
And the SOCK Club is at it again. This time, they’re working to create a food pantry at the school that will help students who are in need of meals when they aren’t at school.
“We were trying to find something more long term and permanent,” said club president Mckenna Anderson.
There’s a similar program already in place at Rundlett Middle School, the Blue Duke Care Closet, and after meeting with members of Rundlett’s student ambassadors and he group’s advisors to see how it all works, the SOCK Club is setting the wheels in motion for their own at the high school.
“I showed them the idea to see if they would be interested,” said advisor Howie Leung. “I thought maybe this is something we should do.”
“Our goal isn’t to make it different, but to serve the same purpose and support the same cause,” Anderson said.
Since the year is almost over, the goal is to collect enough food over the summer months so that the shelves are fully stocked to get the pantry up and running when school returns in September. That’s why they’re starting the process now to get everything lined up so they can begin their mission: to feed those students who may be going hungry when they’re not at school.
Each month, at least through October, the SOCK Club has partnered with a different local business to host a collection box to gather non-perishable items that will then be used to fill the Crimson Care Closet for next year. For June, Sal’s Pizza in the Storrs Street Plaza has a box where you can drop off things like peanut butter, pasta and sauce, canned fruits and vegetables and beans, oatmeal, applesauce, snack bars, boxes of macaroni and cheese, canned soups and tuna, cereal and juice boxes. Those are the kind of items they put on the initial list, but others will be accepted as long at they are non-perishable, in a non-breakable container, easy to prepare and not expired. In July, Infinite Health Family Chiropractic (Boscawen) and Chuckster’s will have boxes for donations, followed by Granite State Natural Foods in August. In September, they’re partnering with the Red Cross to do a collection during a blood drive and Crossroad Chiropractic will be helping out on October. There will also be raffles at the businesses, like the $1 tickets for a chance to win a gift card to Sal’s this month, as well as other local spots.
“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said vice president Cait McAllister.
The SOCK Club has also applied for food pantry status with the N.H. Food Bank, which would allow them to use monetary donations to purchase food at a reduced rate.
When students do seek assistance, the distribution will be done discretely.
“We want people to know it’s anonymous, so they won’t feel embarrassed or anything,” Anderson said.
“A lot of kids aren’t reaching out because there’s a stigma around it,” Leung said.
The plan is to do distributions for the weekends.
“That’s the biggest stretch of time of need,” Leung said.
So far, there have been about 75 students identified who could be in need at the high school and there’s also talk of a survey to establish if there’s more.
And they will be needing more businesses to step up and host collection boxes starting in November, so if you’re interested, let them know. You can check out their Facebook page by searching CHS Sock Club and sending them a message or by emailing Leung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The need is definitely there,” Leung said.