Annual Undies & Sneakers Drive May 8
It’s hard enough being poor without the indignity of not having clean underwear or new shoes. You can make a difference in the lives of poor children living in the Ocala National Forest by providing them with what should be considered necessities. In 2020, we received donations of 1,000 pairs of new sneakers, 1,000 packs of underwear, 400 sports bras, and hundreds of pairs of socks. In 2021, we want to exceed that goal.
The annual Friends of SoZo Kids Undies & Sneakers Drive will be held simultaneously at two locations:
Saturday, May 8
Compass Storage, 4477 E. Co. Rd. 466, Oxford
Rohan Rec Center Parking Lot, 850 Kristine Way, The Villages
The process of donating is simple:
Review the Undies & Sneakers Shopping List (downloadable here) and make your purchases.
Drop off your donations between 10 a.m.-Noon, on Saturday, May 8, at one of our two drive-thru locations: Compass Storage or Rohan Rec Center.
If you’d rather have us do the shopping, write a check to "Friends of SoZo Kids Inc." and mail it to: Pam DiPetrillo (Treasurer), 3741 Barrel Loop, The Villages. Or click here to make a cash donation.
Consider organizing an underwear or new sneaker collection within your church, neighborhood, club, or other group. Email us at Contact@FriendsOfSoZoKids.com to let us know your plans. Drop off your donations May 8 at one of our drive-thru locations.
Packs of underpants in all sizes for boys, men, girls, women
Knit boxer shorts for boys & men (NO “tighty whities”)
Sports bras of all sizes (trainers to XXL) for teen girls
Socks for girls/women, only; NO socks are needed for boys or men at this time
Sturdy sneakers from toddler through adult sizes; if possible, leave the shoes in their original shoebox.
All sizes are needed, especially:
Little kid sneakers, sizes 10-13
Youth sneakers, sizes 2-5
Adult sneakers, sizes 7-11
Drop-Off Bin at NLPC
Friends of SoZo Kids has a drop-off box in the lobby of North Lake Presbyterian Church, 975 Rolling Acres Road, Lady Lake (behind Home Depot). Please call 352-753-8484 before you leave home to make sure the church is open.
During the pandemic, many people are emptying their closets or garages and want to find a new home for their no-longer-needed items. While we appreciate your thinking of SoZo Kids, Pastor Dave does not have the volunteer staff nor the space to handle used items. When you drop off used items in our bin, we try to find another nonprofit that can use them.
It would be better if you donated your still-usable closet and garage items to a deserving charity that is set up to handle such things.
Sometimes SoZo Kids can use working kitchen appliances or washer/ dryers (not furniture). To inquire about these larger items, call 770-550-4184. Thank you. Here is what we can and cannot use:
NEW children's clothing, school supplies, art supplies, or toys
FULL-size toiletries (e.g., shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, etc.)
Checks written to "Friends of SoZo Kids Inc." (leave these at the church office)
New or used adult clothing of any kind
Used children's clothing, shoes, or toys
Used linens, cookware, or other household items
Knick knacks or other such stuff
Hotel sample toiletries
Pastor Dave says that at the moment, they do not need any more hats or scarves, either. Apparently, a lot of knitters and crocheters have been especially busy during the pandemic!
Before making a trip to drop things off, give NLPC a call at 352-753-8484. To inquire about donating working appliances (e.g., refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer -- not furniture), please call 770-550-4184. Thanks so much!
What's Up for 2021
April 12: Friends of SoZo Kids Meeting
Rohan Recreation Center
Join us in the La Hacienda Room at Rohan Recreation Center to hear Pastor David Houck share updates on what’s happening with SoZo Kids. Learn more about the Friends of SoZo Kids Undies & Sneakers Drive on May 8, our new Scholarship Program, and other initiatives. Space will be limited, social distancing will be maintained, and face masks are requested.
This 6-week summer program, which runs Mondays-Wednesdays, is scheduled to reopen after having been closed in 2020 because of COVID-19. Friends of SoZo Kids is looking for six volunteers for each day. Volunteers are asked to sign up one day a week, if possible. Click here for more details about the program. If you would like to volunteer, email us at Contact@FriendsOfSoZoKids.com.
All volunteers who work directly with children are required to undergo a Level II FBI background check. Go to our "Get Involved" page for information on how to get certified to work directly with children.
Donations of school supplies and toiletries will be collected and assembled. Click here for more information on how you can help.
Grants upgrade playground
Thanks to your generosity, Friends of SoZo Kids was able to give a grant of $5,400 to the Help Agency of the Forest to upgrade playground equipment and improve the building cooling system at the Forest Lakes Park site. The Friends of SoZo Kids Board of Directors just voted to spend $13,500 to have a new Community Standard Well drilled at the site. The water there currently is undrinkable. Previous grants were used to help purchase a van, remove a meth house from and clean the property on a nearby plot of land, and install a new fence around all of the new playground area.
To help with upgrades to the Forest Lakes Park site, where SoZo Kids holds its Summer Program and one of its After-School Programs, click on our Donate page. Thanks!
Give a Gift in Someone's Name
If you are wondering what to give to friends and family who "don't really need anything" this year, consider making your donation to Friends of SoZo Kids be their gift.
We have beautiful cards to let your loved ones know you are honoring them with a gift to support children and families living in poverty in the Ocala National Forest. To get one or more of the cards, write to us at Contact@FriendsOfSoZoKids.com to make arrangements.