Each week, the Warm the World club at the University of Kansas brings students together from various backgrounds to knit together clothing for the homeless community of Lawrence.
The group’s central mission is to provide those in Lawrence who do not have a home with clothes to help keep them warm during the winter months, Warm the World President Hailey Solomon said.
“We think that the best way to provide love and support is through action,” Solomon said. “And so our action is providing warm clothes.”
Solomon, a senior studying civil engineering from Oswego and the president of Warm the World, had the idea for the club before she was a student at the University.
University of Kansas senior Hailey Solomon went to a Kansas football game to support her award-winning engineering professor, Matt O'Reilly. When ESPN caught a clip of her crocheting in the stands, she became a viral internet star.
“I envisioned it when I first came to KU,” Solomon said. “I was really heartbroken by the number of homeless living in Lawrence.”
Solomon said she decided to start the organization if she got accepted to the University, and when she got in, she did just that.
“I made it into KU and my sophomore year, Warm the World was born,” Solomon said.
LINK, which operates out of the First Christian Church on 10th and Kentucky Streets, provides people free meals and household or clothing items people donate during the week. During the winter, anything people can donate, such as coats, hats, gloves or socks, helps people to get through their day, LINK President Wendi Meisenheimer said.
“It just helps them in their daily walk in life,” Meisenheimer said. “Anything that people bring to us besides a hot meal is just an added value to the folks that come there.”
Due to the large amount of beginners in the group, Solomon said the majority of the items made are scarves and hats. However, some more experienced members have donated blankets as well.
Warm the World meets in the Kansas Union every other Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m., but Solomon said no one is required to stay the whole time, and any time members are able to give is appreciated. No experience is required to join the club.
“We train people from complete beginners who have never held a crochet hook in their life to experts who have been doing it for over a decade,” Solomon said.
Although the central goal is to make clothing items, the group uses its meetings to spend quality time together as well.
“We have some other people who are willing to teach and then a bunch of people who are eager to learn,” Solomon said. “And we will just watch a movie together and gab about our lives and just make warm clothes.”
One of Solomon's favorite aspects of the group is the people she gets to work with every week.
“They are all very kind and very generous,” Solomon said. “It’s just such a gift to get to meet all these wonderful people and also to get to work together on really fun projects and watch movies. I mean the whole experience is just so much fun.”