Great Give Away helps homeless

Photo Illustration by Marlena Skrobe

Students at the University of Miami are coming together to inspire and empower by improving the lives of others.

Random Acts of Kindness and U R Awesome Inc. have merged to host the second annual Great Give Away, an incentive-based clothing drive, which rewards anyone who donates five or more articles of clothing with a U R Awesome shirt, while supplies last.

“In order to make the Great Give Away happen, we need to sell our 500 U R Awesome Shirts by Oct. 27,” said Gustavo Lang Jr., president of Random Acts of Kindness. “Falling short of selling 500 shirts will severely limit how many free shirts R.A.K. can give to donors, and how much they will be able to provide to those in need.”

Random Acts of Kindness was established at the University of Miami in 2006. Its mission is to foster a more positive university environment through spontaneous acts of kindness. U R Awesome Inc. was founded last year as a nonprofit organization with similar goals to that of R.A.K., but on a global scale.

“We’ve put a lot of preparation into this year’s Give Away,” said Charlie Levinson, vice-president of R.A.K. “We’re going to be able to do a lot more this year with a lot less money.”

The two entities worked together to run The Great Give Away for the first time last year, which collected over 11,000 articles of clothing that were donated to more than 400 homeless individuals in Downtown Miami. The remaining clothing was given to local shelters.

In an attempt to make The Great Give Away more efficient this year, R.A.K. and U R Awesome Inc. are aiming to provide a hygiene kit, food, a recyclable shopping bag, a U R Awesome shirt and five articles of donated clothing to 500 impoverished citizens of Overtown.

The Great Give Away’s sales period began on Oct. 4 and will continue through Wednesday. The collection period will begin Wednesday and end on Nov. 10. The Great Give Away’s distribution will take place at Miami Rescue Mission’s Community Activity Center on Nov. 13.

“We’ve been working extremely hard to perfect The Great Give Away process,” said Kemy Joseph, the CEO of U R Awesome Inc. “We’re working out all the kinks because we’re planning to franchise The Great Give Away to other schools in the U.S. and eventually the world!”

Both organizations have worked together closely since the second week of September to plan The Great Give Away. They have gathered several sponsors, such as PODS, Power Pizza and Publix. These companies have donated boxes, storage and food that will be necessary for The Give Away’s success.

“Come buy a shirt and/or donate your clothing because it’s all for an awesome cause!” Joseph said. “And we’re dressed in penguin suits because penguins are monogamous symbols of love: meaning that once they’ve committed to something they are committed for life.

“In much the same way, U R Awesome Inc. is wholly committed to a lifetime of spreading love to the world.”

Elissa DeCampli may be contacted at