Graphic by Todd Espenshade
In this season of chilly weather, students can warm the hearts and feet of those in need by donating socks to the Kirby Cares campaign. Socks are one of the most needed items at homeless shelters, but often are the least donated, according to Points of Light.
The Kirby Cares campaign, initiated by the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, will run through Feb. 14. New socks can be dropped off inside the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at 65 W. South St.
“The premise of the Kirby Center is to give back to the community,” Rodney Ridley, executive director of the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship said.
Michelle Lehman, Kirby Scholar of Business Development at the center, was inspired to develop this campaign after some research on the Wilkes-Barre community. She discovered that the United States 2016 Census reported that 28.9% of the population of Wilkes-Barre is living in poverty.
“I thought that number was very high and that sparked my attention that we have a lot of men, women and children that are in need of basic necessities. I knew that with this initiative at the Allan P. Kirby Center, we could make a difference even if it was something as small as socks,” Lehman said.
With a desire to be creative and a need for socks, the Kirby Cares campaign was born. The goal of this sock drive is to bring together individuals of Wilkes University in a positive way that benefits members of the local community.
“She has a very big heart and I know that she is passionate about this particular subject,” Ridley said.
A small act of kindness can bring great joy to another person. By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you realize the value a pair of socks has. For someone without a cozy home to warm up in, a pair of socks is a true treasure to them.
“I look at the Kirby Cares campaign as an active awareness that there are so many people who don’t have the opportunity to feel warm during the winter months. I think it is so easy to wake up on a cold day and put on warm clothing and not really think anything of it,” Lehman said.
All sock donations will be given to the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in downtown Wilkes-Barre. The kitchen serves 300 guests a hot, nutritious meal on a daily basis.
“For every problem, there is a solution, and as students we have the ability to make an impact whether it is big or small. Wilkes-Barre is a strong community and it is important that we continue to take of each other,” Lehman said.