KOLD HEROES: A little gift goes a long way

KOLD HEROES: A little gift goes a long way
Leah Vidal has held thousands with a program that gives socks to the homeless community in Tucson. (Source: Alicia Foley)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Heroes are all around us, every day.

KOLD News 13 and Baggins have teamed up to honor them.

After taking several suggestions online, we've selected our first KOLD Hero.

Leah Vidal caught our attention, not because of something huge, but because of something small -- socks.

After we met Leah, we may never look at socks the same way.

On a Saturday afternoon in November, Leah was out collecting socks for her campaign.

"I could do this all day," she said. "I think we have about 200 so far."

Because of Leah's work, thousands of homeless people are getting what they want. Leah said she came up with the idea of the sock drive from listening.

"Out of all the items needed by homeless people, it's socks," she said. "They get wet from walking and they don't have a place to wash anything."

Leah has been helping the homeless like those at Santa Rita Park for years, in any way she can.

"Here at the park if you walk away from your items they are either stolen or thrown away," she said. "It's the least we can do."

Leah said some of the homeless are simply down on their luck or lost a job. Everyone has a story.

There is one story Leah said she remembers the most.

"There was a little boy who came up to the truck," she said. "He was the cutest thing, messy face. I got him in the back of the truck, took his little boots off and put fresh socks on. He was just so thankful.

"When you see children ... it really gets to you."

That's part of what drove Leah to create The Compassionaries, a group of people who share her passion of compassion.

One of those people is Alicia, who nominated Leah for the award.

Leah, like most who help others, doesn't see it that way. What Leah can't deny though, is the program's success.

By the end of the day on Saturday, she had collected more than 1,000 pairs of socks.

It's proof that something as simple as socks can be pretty powerful -- when paired with a hero.

"The goal is to not have to do them anymore but as long as we need to do them," she said. "I'm going to keep doing them."

KOLD News 13 honors Leah for being one of southern Arizona's true heroes.

Don't just take our word for it. Here's what Alicia had to say in nominating Leah.

Leah promotes love everywhere she goes. She began a campaign to give socks and other warm items to the homeless last year and it was an extremely successful campaign. She is collecting items again this year so that she can repeat the warm gifts.

She also began a group named The Compassionaries for people who have similar interests in helping others.

She also helps fill and hand out backpacks at Christmas for the homeless. She works hard, she is a mother and grandmother, she is passionate about showing love and not hate, and she is active in her belief.

We need more people in Tucson like Leah!

We couldn't agree more and we know there are plenty of other people making a difference out there in our community.

But we need your help! Nominate your hero by clicking HERE.

We want to feature one hero every month, so keeping those submissions coming.

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