This winter, Hockomock League teams are not only competing on the track at the Reggie Lewis Center, but are also in a friendly competition off it. Teams are racing to collect new and gently used clothing that will be donated to the non-profit organization Cradles to Crayons to help families in need throughout the Boston and Metrowest areas.
The brainchild of Sharon athletes and MIAA student ambassadors Berta Faktorovich and Jacob Durbin, this is not an ordinary call for donations. The teams have been organized into a competition to see which program can collect the most. Certain items of clothing are worth more points than others, for example sweatshirts, coats, ski pants, and jackets are worth three points and t-shirts, socks, gloves, and hats are worth one.
Clothes are being collected at each of the league’s track meets, as all the teams gather together at the Reggie Lewis Center. Through the first two meets, North Attleboro was in the lead with 197 points and Sharon was close behind in second at 179.
The idea of using fun competition as a means for drawing interest in helping a local charity stemmed from an MIAA student ambassador huddle. “In small groups, we were talking about how having an incentive can encourage more people to bring in donations,” Faktorovich explained. “I then realized how great it would be to have a competition among the winter tracks teams for a clothing drive.”
After sharing the idea with Durbin, the duo set out to get support and buy-in from the league’s team captains and athletic directors. Thanks to social media efforts promoting the “standings” and continuing to spread the word throughout the league, nearly 500 articles of clothing have been collected through two meets.
“Especially around the holiday times when people are receiving new clothes and simply leaving their old clothes to get dusty in their closets, this is a great opportunity to collect clothes for those who need it,” said Durbin. “Adding other teams has only made this bigger and better for the recipients of these great donations.”
While the first meet yielded only 76 pieces of clothing, the number jumped considerably at the second meet and Durbin and Faktorovich are hoping for even more support over the final two meets of the league season. The winning team will be announced at the league championship meet in February with a prize of MSTCA swag for collecting the most.
“The other teams turned out to be a huge help,” Faktorovich said. “We received so many items from all of the teams, especially North Attleboro. They even posted on their own Instagram stories about the drive, which helped spread the word.”
Durbin added, “The competition aspect of the clothing drive surely has caused more people to donate. They are incentivized to earn the reward at the end, but also represent their schools.”
The current standings after three meets are:
- Mansfield – 437
- North Attleboro – 396
- Sharon – 343
- Franklin – 204
- Canton – 182
- Attleboro – 160
- Foxboro – 140
- King Philip – 123
- Taunton/Oliver Ames/Milford/Stoughton – 0
According to a notice from Sharon High regarding the collection drive, “There are simply two requirements for donated clothes: they can be NEW and/or GENTLY USED, and they have to have a sizing tag intact. Trash bags, clearly marked with your school’s name, can be turned in at every dual meet.”
Cradles to Crayons has offices in Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The organization seeks to assist more than 260,000 Massachusetts children that are battling poverty. “Clothing insecurity” is the term the organization uses to describe children who are without adequate or appropriate clothing, an issue that is even more pronounced during New England winters.
For more information about Cradles to Crayons and its efforts to help local families, visit https://www.cradlestocrayons.org.
The next winter track meet will be held at the Reggie Lewis Center on Friday, Jan. 24.