Desire to help others leads 2 teens to organize schoolwide drive
by Mark Ledbetter
WINTERBORO – Two sophomores at Winterboro High School wanted to do something to help others. They recruited others in their school to help them and when all was said and done, the students at Winterboro managed to make a significant impact in the lives of others.

Sierra Moore and Samantha White organized a special drive to collect jeans for homeless teens, and students in grades five through 12 donated 627 pairs of jeans to the cause.

Sierra said she wanted to get involved in a community project and found the website.

According to the website, is the country’s largest nonprofit designed to engage young people in projects to bring social change. Touting a membership of more than 1 million, the organization takes on causes the organization believes young people under age 25 really care about – issues such as bullying, homelessness, cancer and others.

Sierra saw an opportunity to get the school involved in a worthwhile project while possibly winning a $10,000 grant or scholarship, spirit hoodies for the school, and a schoolwide pizza party.

Samantha volunteered to help Sierra with the project and they approached Principal Craig Bates with their proposal.

“They said they would take care of advertising, collecting, everything,” Bates said.

The girls made flyers to advertise the jean drive and the student body got behind the project, bringing in over 80 pairs of jeans the first day, more than 180 the second, and on the third day students brought in more than 330 pairs of jeans.

“I saw students bring jeans by the sacks full, over their shoulders, in shopping bags, and many just arms loaded with folded jeans,” Bates said. “We’re really proud of them.”

Bates said his students have been involved in other community projects. Last December the Student Government Association sponsored a food and clothing drive for area needs. They collected more than enough to meet community needs and sent the surplus to the Care House in Sylacauga.

Sierra and Samantha delivered the jeans to Aeropostale, located in Quintard Mall in Oxford, on Feb. 22. Aeropostale will deliver the jeans to a teen homeless center in Gadsden.

The girls said when they told the manager they had over 600 pairs of jeans, the manager didn’t believe them at first.

“I was flabbergasted,” store manager Shane Cash said.

Cash said other local schools and area churches participated in the annual project that began in January and ended Feb. 23.

“I didn’t know they (Winterboro School) was participating,” Cash said, “but we were extremely happy with the truck load of jeans.”

Cash said total collections resulted in 1,179 pairs of jeans, with Winterboro providing over half.

“They really knocked it out of the park,” Cash said.

“It took three hours to unload them and take them into the store,” Samantha said.

Sierra said she wanted to get students involved for two reasons. One, she said, is the project serves a need, and two, if they could win a scholarship, then that would supplement the two scholarships now awarded by the Winterboro Education Fund.

“Another senior deserves it,” Sierra said.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2013