“If you want things to change and improve, you’ve got to be the solution” is the motto of Howard Beach couple Corinne and Jack Wlody, who are on a mission to make the world a better place with just a pair of gloves and socks.
On a cold, wintry Friday, Jan. 11, the Wlodys 4th Annual Glove Giveaway distributed 1,000 pairs of gloves and 495 pairs of socks to the homeless and others in need at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen located at 296 9th Ave in Manhattan.
“We do this to give people hope and to let them know there are people that care,” said Jack Wlody. “We buy all these gloves and socks and just watching their faces when you hand them a pair of gloves or socks and it puts a smile on their face, and they say ‘this is for me?’ that makes us feel terrific.”
Each year, the couple personally pays for the items, and invites some special friends and clients to help hand them out.
Team Wlody has so far donated 4, 495 pairs of gloves and socks, and they hope to grow their Annual Glove Giveaway into a national event.
The Wlody’s began their first successful Glove Giveaway four years ago, after volunteering at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen that feeds over 1,000 homeless people.
“You take gloves for granted, most of us do and these people are outside and it’s cold and you hand them a pair of gloves and they can put them on right then, and they’re so happy and graceful,” said Corinne. “It becomes extremely humbling and it makes you want to do more.”
Since socks are the number one requested clothing item at homeless shelters, the Wlody’s added socks their event. Last year, the couple donated 1,000 pairs of gloves and donated a brand new bike to an individual who had mobility issues due to ankle surgery.
“We went to a local bike shop and we bought a bicycle and donated it with a helmet to this wonderful man. He was extremely grateful and is able to get around now,” said Corinne. “That was another good thing to do.”
The Wlody’s, who are also fitness professionals and consultants, help people feel and be their very best, which is connected to their annual winter donation of gloves and socks to the homeless across the city.
“What better way to have a balanced life than to give back. You feel good, you’re grateful for what you have in life and give back to others and maybe you can hold somebody else’s hand out of it…maybe bring them out of something,” said Corinne.
Prior to their Annual Glove Giveaway, the Wlody’s were involved in charitable events such as volunteering with Bike New York, visiting group homes, and working with autistic and developmentally disabled children with horseback riding every Sunday.
Describing it as “very emotional,” the Wlody’s say it’s a humbling feeling helping others out in need.
“We’ll keep on doing these things and keep on coming back making people feel like there is hope in these hard times where you feel like nothing is going to work, but if you give someone a little extra here and there and show them you really care, the smile on their face is all that matters,” said Jack.
The Wlody’s are already planning for next year’s Fifth Annual Glove Giveaway, in addition to a possible summer giveaway including shirts or shorts.
The couple hopes that their charitable acts will inspire others to facilitate change in their community.
“We hope that with our actions it’ll inspire people to find a place to volunteer at and to be able to make their own type of collection that is needed in the community,” said Corinne. “If everyone understood how much of a difference any kind of gesture makes it just shows you a different side of life.”