Saugerties senior launches sock drive for homeless

Saugerties High School senior Jayden Williams holds up a package of socks collected during his sock drive, which benefits residents of the Darmstadt Shelter in Kingston. (Photo courtesy of Kristine Conte/Ulster BOCES)

Saugerties High School senior Jayden Williams has launched a sock drive for the homeless, and he is inviting the community to participate. He credits his family with inspiring his initiative. “Throughout my life, my family has instilled a sense of civic duty and giving back to those less fortunate,” Williams said.

When the pandemic first hit, Williams felt overwhelmed, largely because of difficulties associated with remote learning and social distancing requirements. But since then, he has adapted, in part by recognizing that he is relatively fortunate and well-positioned to help others.

Advertisement

“I have a supportive family and a roof over my head,” Williams noted. He is also appreciative of the fact that he is able to attend school, and had in previous years been able to play football and lacrosse.

Williams also points to his involvement in the Key Club, an organization that teaches members how to lead and to help one’s community through service and volunteerism. The pandemic, he realized, offered opportunities for him to help those in need. “Before graduating from school, I wanted to do one more act of kindness – not to fulfill a requirement for a class or a club, but rather because I was inspired to do it on my own,” he said.

While researching different organizations, Williams learned that the pandemic has struck some families harder than others, in some cases causing loss of work, loss of homes and increased tension among family members. He found that many families have had to turn to shelters for assistance. He ultimately decided that he wanted to hold a collection for the Darmstadt Shelter in Kingston.

His research also showed that, while personal hygiene products and coats are among the most popular items donated to homeless shelters, there was a real need for something as simple as socks. “Did you know that socks are one of the most sought-after items by people who are homeless?” Williams asked.

Students and the community can help Williams in his endeavor by dropping off packages of new socks at the junior/senior high school lobby or in the box near the junior high office. The deadline is March 31.

“My hope for students at Saugerties is that we all recognize our individual passions and take action on them,” Williams concluded.