School project leads to happy holidays for homeless - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

School project leads to happy holidays for homeless

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PINCKNEYVILLE -- At St. Bruno Catholic School in Pinckneyville, small things... become big things.

Case in point:  A simple idea to provide a single clothing item to people in need... has grown into a huge project which will help MANY more people than first planned.

Angelina Mabrey's middle school classes have learned, we don't just have to save our "holiday spirit" for the holidays.

"This year, at our school we're focusing on the virtues and this year's virtue is kindness," explained 8th grader, Olivia Dill, whose class found a way to show that virtue to people who need it most.

Their project started humbly, and small.

"One of the most-needed items for homeless shelters is socks, because people don't typically donate second-hand socks," said teacher Angelina Mabrey.

So, they started a "sock-tober" sock drive... that became so successful, they extended it into November, and expanded it into all types of clothing.

The bigger this project got... the more enthusiasm students here showed.

"When we started, it was something very small and as it grows, the kids get more and more excited," said Mabrey

Now, the school has rooms full of bags, bursting with gently-worn winter items, not just socks, but gloves, coats and other items too.

"I did not expect this many items, actually," exclaimed Dill.

Students work to fold and sort the items, which will go to the Carbondale Women's Shelter, and the Lifeboat and Life Alliance ministries in Mount Vernon, and Marion.

Clothing charities in DuQuoin and Pinckneyville will also benefit from a generosity that keeps growing from these very giving students and their families.

"It's pretty cool, whenever you see kids come in every day with numerous boxes and trash bags just full and breaking because there are so many clothes in there," said Dill.

What's next for these industrious students?  Holiday cards to patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, and Barnes Children's Hospital in Saint Louis.

In the spring, they'll start on a trash cleanup project.

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