LAKELAND, Fla. - Polk County teen Zach Kirkland is one of a few people who can say they have gotten a pat on the by the president of the United States. He just got a letter from President Biden thanking him for a job well done.
"I think it is pretty awesome," his mom, Diane Forcier, told FOX 13. "It is a big accomplishment."
For the last four and a half years, Kirkland has been delivering gift bags with funky, fun socks to kids at Lakeland Regional Medical Center so they don’t have to wear the plain, hospital-issued ones.
"It gives the kids something personal and individual they can use for themselves," Kirkland explained.
Jillian Haley, one of the medical center’s child life specialists, says it works like a charm.
"Each bag is dedicated to bringing joy and comfort to kids in the hospital," Haley shared.
Kirkland came up with the idea when he was an eighth-grade student at Bok Academy in Lake Wales. His teacher challenged the class to come up with something that would impact the community and that’s how ‘Silly Sock Saturdays’ was born.
Along with socks, every second Saturday, the kids get a gift bag with things like earphones, coloring books and crayons.
What started as a passing thought has now become a non-profit organization run on donations, sock-hops and other fundraisers.
To date, Kirkland has delivered well over 1,500 gift bags, an idea that turned out to be not so silly after all.