Palmerton Area Junior High students have been promoting "Socks for Seniors."
The program came to life at the junior high after Patti Jo Boyd, eighth-grade language arts teacher, spotted an article in the Times News.
The Socks for Seniors organization began 12 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. The organization was in search for volunteers in the area to collect socks for senior citizens.
Seniors often struggle with the holiday blues.
Socks for Seniors benefits those living alone, those in nursing homes, and even those who are homeless. Some are alone for the holiday season, without family or who have family members who live too far away to visit. Some are a widow or widower. Others, simply, have no one to bring them holiday cheer.
The priority of the Socks for Seniors volunteers is to bring joy along with a pair of new socks to warm the hearts and cover the cold feet of older citizens.
Boyd promoted the idea to her students, who wanted to share stories of grandparents and others they knew who are lonely, in a nursing home or personal care home.
A clothesline was hung in Boyd's classroom, and 181 pairs of colorful, funky socks were collected.
The students embraced the activity and were excited to participate.
When Boyd announced she would be visiting some area nursing homes, some of the students asked to go along.
On Dec. 11 Boyd and music director Ken Mettam brought a group of 15 choral members and 11 others to Mrs. Bush's Personal Care Home in Kunkletown. When they arrived, they were pleasantly surprised to see approximately 45 seniors waiting for them.
Mettam and the chorus sang four lively tunes. It was obvious some of the seniors love to sing.
After the singing, Boyd had coached her students to circle the room with approximately 90 pair of socks hanging from three jump ropes.
The room filled with color and the faces of the seniors lit up like Christmas lights.
The students chatted with the seniors and helped them chose a pair of fun socks.
The striped and fuzzy socks were a hit.
The other favorites were the socks with snowmen, reindeer, penguins and snowflakes.
The students also had been encouraged to bring old holiday cards to school. They recycled them and were able to give each senior a holiday card as well.
The students enjoyed their time with the seniors, and the residents didn't want them to leave when it was time to go.
"I often have to encourage the kids to talk with the seniors," the activity director from the personal care home told Boyd. "Your students were the best group we ever had because they interacted so well with the residents."