Underwear and sneakers to be collected for children in Ocala National Forest

As a result of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Friends of SoZo Kids Inc. is combining its two springtime fundraisers into one: Undies Saturday and Sneakers in June.

On Saturday, June 6, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Friends of SoZo Kids will be collecting packages of underwear for boys and girls, ages 5-17, as well as sports bras for teen girls. At the same time, donations of new sneakers for boys and girls, all ages and all sizes, will also be collected. The drop-off location is the parking lot of Hiers-Baxley Life Event Center, 3975 Wedgewood Lane, The Villages.

Members of the Golden Gals Softball Program in The Villages show off some of the more than 150 summer activity kits they prepared for SoZo Kids.

“In the past, we were able to collect underwear outside the entrance to Wal-Mart, but that isn’t possible this year because of crowd control guidelines,” said Kathy Hartman, who lives in Stonecrest and has organized Undies Saturday collections for several years. “We appreciate that Hiers-Baxley is offering us space this year.”

The underwear and sneakers, along with other clothing, school supplies and toiletries, will be distributed to more than 1,500 children attending the SoZo Kids Back-to-School Bash in August. SoZo Kids, a program of the Help Agency of the Forest Inc., serves children living in abject poverty in the Ocala National Forest.

Friends of SoZo Kids Inc., formerly known as the SoZo Kids Club of The Villages, exists solely to support the mission of SoZo Kids by connecting the time, talent and treasures of Villagers and residents of surrounding communities with the needs of the Help Agency. For more information, visit www.friendsofsozokids.com or write to FriendsOfSoZoKids@gmail.com.

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