KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Katie Shishko said sometimes all it takes is digging through your own closet to find a jacket or something warm for the head, two things that could mean a lot to a little one in need.
"I literally went through my stuff from home and brought a bunch of hats and gloves," she said.
She and Mary Grace Dolan are studying to be teachers at the University of Tennessee.
"One of the things we strive for is giving the children things we didn't have," Dolan said.
Shishko is also an intern at Green Magnet Academy where she said she saw a need.
"We talked to their school resource officer, and he said they were really in need of jackets and other warm clothing items," Shishko said.
She and her classmates decided to do something about it and launched a clothing drive, a gesture organizations nationwide do each year for one simple reason.
"If they don't have their basic needs met, then they can't learn," she said.
The National Center for Children in Poverty notes nearly 15 million children live in families below the poverty line, that included hundreds of thousands right here in Tennessee.
"It's right outside our back door, so those children are definitely in our community," Shishko said.
For future teachers like and Dolan, that matters.
"As educators and as members of the community, I think it's our responsibility to meet that need," Shishko said.
So if you have a little time to donate a coat or a hat or gloves, remember just how much a little can go a long way.
"Those factors that we don't always think about contribute really strongly to a child's education, and we can't fully invest in the things we are teaching them if they are cold," she said.
You can find info on donating here.