A Garden City High School senior found a unique way to add fun and warmth to the lives of hospitalized children.
Chris Koester, 17, has collected more than 1,100 pairs of socks — many with colorful designs and children's cartoon characters — for pediatric patients at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, part of North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System.
His campaign, titled "New Socks for Tots," took place over seven weeks in the spring. He connected with the center through the Children's Medical Fund of New York, which raises funds to help equip medical facilities and programs there.
"Some of the patients are too sick to even play with toys . . . but a new, fun pair of socks can put a smile on every child's face," Koester said.
The collection effort kicked off during a "sock hop" dance at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City, with free admission for those who donated socks.
The effort spread to the high school after health and physical education teacher Jen Soper heard of it. She and other teachers offered homework passes as an incentive for donations.
Koester is president of the high school's Boys' Athletic Association and is publicist-webmaster of the German National Honor Society. He also is a member of the soccer, lacrosse and track teams.