Norfolk State’s The League of Extraordinary Men is hosting an ongoing statewide clothing drive throughout Virginia. The next clothing drive for the homeless and less fortunate will take place this Monday, January 9th in the Virginia Beach area. The clothing drive will be a chance for those in need to gain clothing for free from various locations set up around the city.
A group of young men from Norfolk State University has made extraordinary efforts to assist citizens in Virginia during the winter season. It all started on Christmas Eve, December 24th. Jeremie Simmons, one of eight founders of The League of Extraordinary Men, hosted the first “The Warm Up” Clothing drive in Norfolk, Virginia. Since then more than 750 people have received clothing to help keep them warm in the areas of Norfolk, Richmond, and Portsmouth due to multiple clothing drives orchestrated by these gentlemen.
The League of Extraordinary Men, an organization founded in 2012 at Norfolk State, is completing the extraordinary work based on a mission to collect all sorts of winter clothing. With so much to give the group was able to set up thirteen stations across the state to supply those in need with clothing. For the Richmond, Virginia drive, so many people were being helped that they had to extend the event for three hours. The leftover clothing for the Portsmouth locations was bestowed to the Oasis Center.
The group refused to just to focus on the homeless but included those who are less fortunate as well. Through their projects, a noticed problem included that many individuals lack the financial ability to shop for clothing thus rely on thrifting. With the homeless, the group is focusing on making sure individuals have undergarments. Trevin Curtis, the current president of The League of Extraordinary Men, experienced a situation with a person needing undergarments more than any other item.
When the temperature outside is 20 degrees, most are trying to find warmth but a few are finding ways to cope with nature’s harsh conditions. “’I met a man whose socks were so worn and old that they had begun to mold at the bottom. I encountered this man for three days straight and was able to help him out differently each time,” Curtis said.
The first encounter was enough for a hotel room because of a drought of men’s clothing. The second time Curtis was able to provide a big Roca Wear coat to go along with his two thin hoodies. The final encounter Curtis noticed the man limping across the street with severe pain in his feet. Having a bag full of options the man was accessible to a new pair of Asics sneakers, four pairs of socks, and a pair of jeans.
Tory Barner, a recent Norfolk State graduate, and a member of The League of Extraordinary Men says that the difference the organization aims to make is from the heart and not for self-recognition. “No matter what you’re doing, you’re making a difference, service is done not for gratitude, but for change”, Barner said, as he zealously plans for the huge drive on Monday. The organization is not one big for pictures or notification because it focuses on trying to show others that they’re needed to make a difference in the community.
The organization began as an outlet for men on campus to come together to discuss issues, campus events, and build relationships. Now the organization consists of members of fraternities and non-fraternity men who strive to go beyond their campus and bridge the gap between the services needed in the community.
The League goes by the motto, “Your greatest service is done when no one is watching”. Barner knew that a difference was made when he took a drive through one of the towns and saw multiple people walking happily down the streets with their new coats, hats, and shoes. “There was a new energy around the place, and that’s when I knew we a made a change in someone’s life” explained Barner as he felt overwhelmed with joy.