Falcon Spotlight: Kyle Klett

Amid the many hardships caused by the pandemic, junior Kyle Klett chose to help others in need during the holiday break.

Kyle+Klett%2C+22+%28right%29+and+two+kitchen+staff+members+pose+with+the+shower+kits+he+delivered+to+the+Hickory+Soup+Kitchen+in+Hickory%2C+NC.

Courtesy of Kyle Klett

Kyle Klett, ’22 (right) and two kitchen staff members pose with the shower kits he delivered to the Hickory Soup Kitchen in Hickory, NC.

While social distancing guidelines likely restricted many of us from traveling abroad and holding typical family gatherings over the winter break, junior Kyle Klett has viewed the pandemic as an opportunity to help others in need. After months of planning, Klett assembled 100 “shower kits” to give to the homeless visiting Hickory Soup Kitchen in Hickory, North Carolina, just in time for Christmas.

Originally from New York, Kyle moved to Florida at the age of seven and began attending Saint Stephen’s in second grade. Growing up, he watched his parents donate their family’s old clothes to the Salvation Army and give money to those living on the streets. Even from a young age, he recognized the importance of giving back to the less fortunate around him.

Upon entering high school, Kyle started actively volunteering at a number of non-profit organizations. As a freshman, he traveled to the Dominican Republic with Outreach360 during IQ Week, where he taught elementary school students English alongside his classmates. During his sophomore year, he volunteered at Mothers Helping Mothers, a Sarasota-based organization which provides free baby clothing, school supplies, and other household necessities to the local community. Most recently, Kyle began working at the soup kitchen last summer, where he helped package meals for anyone who walked through its doors. Witnessing the long line of customers each day inspired him to do a little giving (and innovation) of his own.

“Anything counts, really,” he said. “I think that’s kind of what the soup kitchen showed me–that the smallest thing, just being part of the assembly line [serving] meals, just handing someone a styrofoam container–that actually [makes a difference].”

He asked other volunteers for their input on what items might prove most useful, and after returning home and doing some research online, he ultimately decided on creating shower kits to be distributed at the soup kitchen.

Using the money he’d raised from selling various old sneakers as well as his toy soldier collection on Ebay, he was able to buy the supplies he needed in bulk. With the help of his family, he put together all of the shower kits and brought them in person to the Hickory Soup Kitchen on Christmas Eve. According to the soup kitchen’s Facebook page, Klett “delivered them with little fanfare, and they were well received.” Every kit included shampoo, a towel, a brush and comb, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a razor, all wrapped up in a brightly colored drawstring bag.

Reflecting back on his experience, his advice to others is to simply do “anything you can. Anything you can do really helps, and even if you don’t think what you’re doing has an impact, it really makes a bigger impact than you would imagine.”

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