NEWBURGH – Mount Saint Mary College students recently trekked throughout campus with sacks full of socks, but it wasn’t their laundry.
Students and staff amassed and donated around 1,800 pairs of new socks to those struggling in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
The "Rock the Socks" relief campaign was spearheaded by students in the Aging United student association, the Psi Chi psychology honor society, and professor Lawrence Force’s psychology courses.
Force says that during a recent trip to Breezy Point, NY and Rockaway, NY, he asked parish priests what people in the area needed to help get them back on their feet. The reply was simple: socks.
"I talked to students... and said, ‘We’ve got to do something,’" explained Force.
Within an hour, students created a Facebook page to get the word out.
Within two weeks, the Mount students collected the footwear and distributed it to Breezy Point, Rockaway, Staten Island, Long Island and other areas hard hit by Sandy.
"The Mount responds," said Force.
Mount alumna Melanie Sussman ’11 distributed more than 600 pairs of socks to Long Beach Island. Sussman, who majored in human services at the Mount, said, "I love doing whatever I can to help."
Sussman added that the Mount prepared her well for graduate school. "Dr. Force and the other human services professors did an amazing job," she said.
The college’s fervor for donating footwear didn’t stop there.
A shoe drive sponsored by the Mount’s campus ministry collected more than two dozen pairs of shoes to be distributed by the Church of God by Faith in Newburgh.
Newburgh resident Patricia Harbin, an English and human services double major, delivered the shoes to her church in time to be distributed by Thanksgiving.
"We want to send our sincerest gratitude to all who helped with the collection," said Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm., chaplain of the campus ministry. "As we continue to move forward after the tragedy that resulted from Hurricane Sandy, this shoe drive serves as a nice reminder of the strong and supportive community that exists here at the Mount."