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Winter Haven teen receives award from President Biden for volunteer work

Posted at 8:45 PM, Aug 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 08:53:45-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Every second Saturday of the month 18-year-old, Zachary Kirkland delivers dozens of gift bags to children at Lakeland Regional Health.

“A lot of families share, we came with nothing we weren’t expecting to come to the hospital, and this gave our kids something to entertain themselves, while they were just sitting in the hospital bed not knowing what was going on,” said Kirkland.

Attached to the bags are silly socks and other goodies, including coloring books, and card games are stuffed inside.

“It’s a gift that they can use and be able to know that the time they had at the hospital might’ve been hard, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been,” Kirkland said.

It all started as an eighth-grade class project. Four years later Silly Sock Saturdays is a non-profit that has given out more than 5,000 bags to children.

“It’s amazing and getting to hear parents, nurses, children, just the impact that I know that I make through this bag,” Kirkland said.

He’s made such an impact that the Winter Haven teen was awarded by President Joe Biden with the President's Gold Volunteer Service Award, for his more than 500 hours of community service.

“I didn’t actually know I was going to be getting the award or anything about it, until it was delivered in the mail,” said Kirkland.

He said he doesn’t do it for recognition, but to make a difference in his community.

“Be able to bring calmness and be able to bring joy, it’s an amazing feeling,” Kirkland said.