In between homework assignments and a soccer game, Maddie O’Neill and Kaya Singh, two athletes from the Players Development Academy (PDA), met with the Elijah’s Promise Community Kitchen to ask how they could be helpful this holiday season.
Elijah’s Promise sits in the heart of New Brunswick and serves more than 170,000 meals per year to people in need.
Michele Wilson, Executive Director of Elijah’s Promise, inventoried the gaps that urgently needed to be filled. High on her list were socks.
As soccer players, this need resonated with the girls. They sent an email bearing a simple request to players within their soccer club; a hope for donations of socks to distribute to homeless individuals that visit the soup kitchen.
A powerful combination of social awareness, positive intentions and efforts put forth by their fellow club members, rapidly transformed this little project into a movement to alleviate an aspect of human suffering.
Individual teams and players within PDA began encouraging each other to get involved and collect socks. Players from Middletown Soccer Club heard the news and joined in to donate. Student-athletes went into their neighborhoods, schools and beyond to collect socks and educate the community about this basic need within the homeless population.
The initial goal was to raise 500 pairs of socks, and to date, they have collected more than 2,000 pairs. The number grows daily thanks to the generosity of many.