One morning last February, Martha Alvarez pulled out of the bus barn of Traverse City Area Public Schools in Northern Michigan, as she has done for almost two decades. It was 18 degrees outside. When a kindergartener boarded the bus at one of the last stops, she was in tears. The child told Alvarez that her feet were cold. Alvarez sat the girl near a heater and noticed through a broken zipper in the child’s vinyl boots that she was not wearing socks. “It shook me up really bad,” Alvarez was quoted as saying.
She then mentioned the child to other school staff and was shocked to learn that there were many students attending school without socks, or with mismatched or worn out socks. The next day she found out that 6 of the 45 passengers she carries each day did not have warm socks.
Within a week Alvarez started the Warm Toes Sock Drive to generate donated socks for students. With assistance from fellow education supports professionals (ESPS), she produced flyers and signs and sent them to local schools and businesses appealing for help. She also took her idea to the Traverse City Transportation Association.
Approximately 4,300 pairs of socks in all sizes and colors were collected within a week. The drive also expanded to include hats, gloves, and scarves as well.
Martha Alvarez saw a need and took action. All it takes is a plan and execution to help those in need.