When Matt Shockey designed a T-shirt to commemorate this strange school year, he wasn’t sure if anyone would buy it.
Shockey, the co-president of the Lampeter-Strasburg Education Association and social studies teacher at Lampeter-Strasburg High School, says after designing the shirt, he bought four shirts for his family right away in late March just in case nobody purchased one.
The design: the school’s pioneer logo with a mask on, a sign of the times in 2020.
However, hundreds of shirts were purchased by people inside and outside of the local community within a couple weeks.
“I think we sold something like 600 or 700 shirts without really trying that hard,” Shockey says.
When Shockey closed the sale in late March, he says he received emails from people asking him to reopen the sale. So, he did that in early April, and closed the second leg of the sale on April 2. In total, 512 T-shirts were sold. Between T-shirt sales and additional monetary donations, the education association raised $6,754 for charity. The shirts are no longer available for purchase.
Shockey says the amount of money raised exceeded his expectations.
“I was hoping maybe for $500,” Shockey says. “I just thought it would be a neat thing to raise a little bit of money, in some spare time, but it really took off.”
The Lampeter-Strasburg Education Association donated the money to the Lampeter-Strasburg Community Closet, a nonprofit that works with the school district’s social worker to fulfill student's needs, hoping to give back to community members affected by the pandemic.
Spreading the word
Shockey reached out to members of the education association and staff members at Lampeter-Strasburg to ask them to share a link, where people could buy the T-shirt for $25 on the Custom Ink website. The school also shared the link on social media.
Originally the T-shirts were made for Lampeter-Strasburg teachers to purchase and show support for the community, Shockey says.
But that changed when people other than Lampeter-Strasburg teachers got the link through social media and started buying the shirts.
“A lot of people outside the community purchased them because obviously, our teachers aren’t buying 600 shirts,” Shockey says.
Shockey says he hopes to create a second shirt this year using the same logo but it would focus on working together to get through a challenging time.
L-S Community Closet
Proceeds from the T-shirt sale benefitted the Lampeter-Strasburg Community Closet, which helps provide aid of various kinds to students in need.
Kara Grove, a Lampeter-Strasburg community closet board member and educator, says the funds from Shockey’s T-shirt sale were used to purchase 50 reusable grocery bags to support the Power Packs Project. The Power Packs Project provides families with resources and education to feed their families nutritious weekend meals to fill the gap left by weekday meal service programs.
Grove says because of COVID-19, the school’s social worker needed new bags for food distribution.
The community closet has also purchased a musical instrument with the donation from Lampeter-Strasburg Grove says.
“Just as needs come up, we just have the funds to be able to support all the kids here at L-S,” Grove says. “So, it’s kind of in a holding tank for now and we just wait for the needs and as they arrive, we support whatever we can.”
Grove says it’s rewarding to be able to support each family in whatever they need and when they need it.
“And it keeps the money within the community,” Grove says. “And that was the goal of the organization, is to give back to the community and that’s exactly what our mission is, to keep all the funds here for students and families within the school district.”