The volume level in the gym at Eagle View elementary sounded as if Justin Bieber was making a guest appearance.
But last Thursday’s gathering of students, staff and guests in the View Royal school was less rock and more sock, with the crescendo being the throwing of new pairs of socks collected for Our Place – all 800 or so of them – at principal Brent de Nat.
After being pummelled by each class, then his staff, de Nat joked of the experience, “it’s better than tomatoes.”
While acknowledging the fun finish to an amazing, week-long campaign – a total of 828 pairs were donated in a school of 238 students – the event had its message as well, he said.
“The community realizes Our Place is a place of need and the kids understand that we need to step up and help people. That was the basic intent of it,” he said.
With the organization also hosting homeless individuals nearby at the Choices Transitional Shelter on Talcott Road, students have been introduced to its function in an age-appropriate way, de Nat said. “It’s a new learning experience for the kids, they know that there are homeless people there and they need help in a variety of ways.”
Eagle View is one of nine area schools to participate in this year’s the sock collection/toss program, initiated in 2015 by Fairfield United Church Rev. Beth Walker.
“I thought it was a great idea and a way to build compassion and empathy and have a little bit of fun,” she said. “What’s really important is how many people have found out about Our Place who might not have otherwise known about it.”
Our Place executive director Don Evans, who was there to witness the sock toss, spoke to the gathering afterward with Walker and thanked everyone for their enthusiastic participation.
Later, he talked about the importance of events such as this on a broader scale.
“What a great way to introduce social justice issues and issues around poverty and people that struggle in the community, by creating a fun event like this where they can engage with their principal in a way they don’t normally get to do,” he said.
“The need for socks is so important when people are on the street, when they’re on their feet all day on the concrete, that they have a fresh pair of socks when they come in to Our Place. The feet are often the worst parts of their body, because of all the walking.”
For more information about Our Place or Choices shelter, or to donate items, visit ourplacesociety.com.