Getting Results Award winner turns school project into nonprofit to help young patients

Silly Sock Saturdays delivers comfort items to area hospital

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Summer is here and while most kids are enjoying the time off, this week's Getting Results Award winner is running his own nonprofit.

Zachary Kirkland turned his eighth-grade "Critical Thinking" class project into an official charity. He delivers comfort items once a month to the pediatrics wing of Lakeland Regional Health.

Kirkland, 14, says the assignment was to think of an idea that would help the community. He took it a step further.

"Instead of just doing the idea we decided to take this and actually implement it, make it an actual nonprofit," he said.. 

Kirkland calls it "Silly Socks Saturdays," a play on the socks patients get when they're in the hospital. "The blue knee high socks with the grips," he said. "They always got my attention and made me smile."

Kirkland fills gift bags with small toys, art supplies, games and simple electronics for older kids. A pair of colorful socks finish off the gift.

"I think to myself, I know that they'll enjoy these," he says. "They're small basic items just so they can keep their hands busy and they would always have something to do." 

Kirkland says he has a knack for numbers but navigating the government paperwork and organizing a corporation were some of the biggest challenges.

"I've learned that not every idea goes your way," he says. "Starting your own corporation, having a board of directors with conflicting views and different people's input, it's not what you think."

Kirkland says he spends up to $300 a month on the items and relies on donations to keep it going. If you would like to help visit www.SillySockSaturdays.com

Chain of Lakes Elementary School in Polk County recently helped him collect enough toys to fill 100 gift bags.

And Kirkland told News 6 in December that he's earned a Disney "Be Inspired' service grant for his work.