Silly Sock Saturdays Celebrates 50s Sock Hop
by James Coulter
A fresh and groovy time was had during the 50s Sock Hop on Saturday evening, hosted as a fundraiser for Silly Sock Saturdays. Hosted at Venue 650 in Winter Haven, the fundraiser allowed attendees to bop and hop along to a good time on the dance floor, dressed in poodle skirts and jersey jackets, and dancing along to 50s and 60s style music.
Dinner was served by Sonny’s BBQ, with root beer floats and a candy table offered complimentary for guests. Other activities that evening included a photo booth, scavenger hunt, and lawn games.
Proceeds from the event went toward Silly Sock Saturdays, a local non-profit organization that makes monthly deliveries of small toys and other gifts to children at Lakeland Regional Hospital.
Typically, Silly Sock hosts a bowling tournament as a fundraiser. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, a different style of event was hosted. Nevertheless, the turnout proved just as phenomenal, if not more so, explained Zachary Kirkland, the creator of Silly Socks.
“We have been happy for the turnout,” Zack said. “We were worried we are seeing something different, but we have been super excited for the turnout [and] the feedback. Everything we have done at this event has been wonderful, and we are super thankful for everybody who came out and supported us.”
Zack started his non-profit as an eighth-grade class project four years ago. His teacher assigned him to think of a way to support his local community. As he had many friends in the hospital, he decided to collect donations of socks, small toys, and other gifts to donate to young patients. So, every month on Saturday, he and his volunteers deliver gift bags to patients staying at Lakeland Regional Hospital.
Jillian Haley, a nurse from Lakeland Regional Pediatric, attended the fundraiser that evening. She commended Zack for his commitment these past four years, especially for a young high schooler such as himself. She appreciates how his deliveries help make the children’s hospital stay there much more bearable, she said.
“When you work day to day with children in our hospital…you get to see how overwhelming it is, not only with the child, but the whole family,” Haley said. “What Zack does every single month with these gift bags is he allows us to make that first experience for the child something positive.”
Lisa Hofbauer from Sonny’s BBQ and her team catered that evening’s dinner. They often perform “random acts of barbecue” for many special events in the county. She knew about Silly Sock Saturdays for the past year and a half. In honor of his organization, she offered him a “certificate of awesomeness” that evening.
“Sonny’s BBQ does what we call a ‘random act of barbecue.’ People in the community will nominate someone for being amazing and above and beyond in their community and doing amazing things,” she explained. “We want to thank everyone for being here, and we want to award Zack…and just thank him for everything he does for raising awareness for his cause, and putting on an event like this together, which is amazing in and of itself.”