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 Potter Fans Inspired to Help Children

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Most devoted Harry Potter fans saw the release of a new book as an opportunity to get together and celebrate. But Karina Walsh saw an opportunity to give back. And her fellow fans joined in without hesitation.

Walsh, technology center events assistant for the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE), organized a sock drive with Mysterious Galaxy leading up to the Clairemont bookstore's July 30 release party for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." More than 1,000 pairs of new socks were collected to benefit San Diego County children experiencing homelessness.

The bookstore had "Dobby's Sock Drive" collection boxes out through the month of July, but it was the night of the release party when donations flooded in.

"We had people leaving Mysterious Galaxy to go to CVS and Target to buy socks when they showed up and found out about the drive," Walsh said. "Two boxes were full when I got there around 9 p.m., and I brought a third box that was filled by the end of the night. Hooray for Potter fans!"

Walsh was inspired by a character in the "Harry Potter" series named Dobby, who is freed from a life of servitude to an evil family when he is presented with a sock. Walsh said that when she learned about Mysterious Galaxy's book release party, she asked the owners if a sock drive could be held in honor of the beloved character. They were very enthusiastic about the idea, and Walsh created a flier for the event.

"Author J.K. Rowling is a huge advocate for single moms and homeless parents and children, and Harry Potter fans tend to be big of heart, so it really was a no-brainer," Walsh said.

SDCOE Homeless Education Services team members were overwhelmed by Walsh's project and the support of Potter fans.

"Thank you to Karina, Harry Potter fans, and Mysterious Galaxy for thinking of our students and going the extra mile to make this happen," said Kymm Wolfe, SDCOE homeless education program aide.

The socks were distributed to children at SDCOE's Monarch School and at StandUp For Kids outreach agency.