Land O’ Lakes’ brothers, Owen and Grady Matthew, want to provide socks for the homeless.
And, Zephyrhills retiree Janet Chubinsky wants to give new shoes to children in need.
The efforts are separate, but both are making strides in reaching their goals to help others.
Kid President, a YouTube character played by 11-year-old Robby Novak, inspired the Matthew brothers to get involved.
Kid President declared the month of October as “Socktober,” and challenged children across the nation to host sock drives to help homeless people.
Sixth-grader Owen and second-grader Grady embraced the challenge, and enlisted the help of nearly 300 students and their families at Countryside Montessori Charter School in Land O’ Lakes.
By the end of the month, the sock drive doubled its goal of 770 socks by donating 1,552 socks to the Salvation Army.
“We have amazing parents,” said Holly DePiro, volunteer and fundraising coordinator for Countryside Montessori Charter School. “You ask, and they go with the cause. The kids get excited.”
Though it was a one-time event, DePiro said it could be repeated. “If there is a need out there, then we’re on it,” she said.
The school is having a food drive in November.
Students also are collecting leftover Halloween candy to send to troops overseas for Operation Gratitude.
A toy drive is planned for December.
Chubinsky, 81, transplanted a shoe donation program she started in Tennessee to Pasco County when she and her husband retired to Zephyrhills four years ago.
“I need to have something to do,” Chubinsky said.
Her daughter, an educator in Tennessee, suggested that Chubinsky visit area schools to find out what they needed.
On her first visit to Raymond B. Stewart Middle School in Zephyrhills, she heard a familiar response. Thirty-six students at the school needed shoes.
“The goose bumps went right through my body,” Chubinsky said.
She delivered 36 pairs of donated shoes within days and the Children Outreach Program Effort (COPE) was off and running.
Chubinsky, the organization’s program director, enlisted two friends to help and they dubbed themselves “Two and a half women.” When the program began, two of the volunteers were retired and one worked part-time, she explained.
This year Chubinsky anticipates giving away 900 pairs of shoes.
She works with Pasco County Schools’ ABC coordinators at 10 schools to deliver pairs of shoes, and socks, as requested, to area schools.
The school district’s ABC program seeks to help students who don’t have appropriate clothing, shoes that don’t fit or who eat all of their meals at school.
Chubinsky has 11 volunteers but would love more.
“We don’t have enough volunteers or a place to house our shoes,” she said.
Local civic groups and area businesses, such as the Elks, Eagles, Sunshine Eatery, Methodist Ladies Club and Rotary clubs, give generously.
COPE also received 300 pairs of shoes from Sole4Souls, a global nonprofit that fights poverty by collecting and distributing clothes and shoes. COPE paid Sole4Souls $2 a pair for freight costs, Chubinsky said.
She may be retired, but Chubinsky keeps busy.
She tools around in a 2000 model SUV with magnetic signs displaying the COPE logo – a large sneaker.
The sign has attracted some interest from people who want to volunteer, she said.
COPE meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., at various locations. Plans are in the works for fundraising events in 2016.
“It’s God’s work,” Chubinsky said. “We’re all volunteers.”
Published November 11, 2015