ST. LOUIS COUNTY — On a cold, windy November day, something heartwarming happened inside Uthoff Valley Elementary in Fenton.

A classroom project that turned into a life lesson.

"It's better to give than receive," said Rockwood fifth-grader Julia Shiner.

It all started when Julia and two of her classmates — Grace and Nika — were brainstorming during what the school calls a genius hour. It's an hour for students to explore what they're passionate about.

Julia focused her attention on giving. She did a little research and learned socks are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters.

"If I didn't have any socks I would not be able to live because my feet get cold so easily," Julia said.

So with the help of her friends, they started a sock drive and started a friendly competition to see which grade could donate the most.

"To get kids interested in it, if someone wins they get a 45-minute recess, because everybody loves recess," Julia said.

The girls knocked the socks off their goal of 1,000 pairs. The school is hovering around the 1,500 mark with a few days left in the sock drive.

"I think they'll be really happy they got socks," said Julia.