Emily Kubin is only 17 years old and has already managed to touch hundreds of people across the country by helping those in need.
Kubin in January, creating and donating winter hats, scarves, afghans and gloves to the homeless and working poor.
Kubin, a rising senior at , recently surpassed her charity's first goal to make 1,000 winter hats for the impoverished people of Appalachia in Kentucky by December.
The Morris Township teen was approached in March from those in Kentucky to knit the hats by next winter, but she reached the 1,000 milestone on June 18, six months earlier than the goal.
"I couldn't believe we had finished six months before we needed to because in the beginning it was so daunting," she said. "I knew we were coming close, but I still couldn't believe how fast we did it."
Kubin said she owes a lot of the success to the attention her Facebook page has brought. With more than 1,500 "likes" on the page, she has had donations from people in 22 states and two foreign countries.
Many of the hats were also knitted by Kubin and her family in her own home. Her sister, Julia, mother Jill, aunt Sue Harris, and grandmother, Tibbie Reynolds, all help made the hats as well.
Since the initiative first took off in January, Kubin has collected and made more than 1,400 hats. The Kubin family has made about 570 of those, and the rest have been donations.
Kubin and her family make the hats with gift cards and money people donate. Other people have donated yarn, and one woman even sent 37 pounds of yarn.
The number of hats Kubin receives keeps growing, and she received 120 hats at her latest trip to the P.O. box last week.
"In one trip to P.O. box, there will be shipments from Kansas, England, just random places," she said. "It's amazing how all of them know about me."
When Kubin first started, she went to local soup kitchens and food pantries in the area. Her first stop was the Morristown Soup Kitchen where she donated eight hats, and it grew from there.
In the past six months, Kubin has donated more than 400 hats to soup kitchens in Morristown, Dover and Paterson, and the food pantry in Morris Plains.
Although reaching the goal for Kentucky, Kubin said she will continue to make hats and encourage people to send them. She wants to keep donating to local places and to Appalachia.
Kubin said she would love for one day it to become a national campaign, similar to the child cancer foundation, Alex's Lemonade Stand, where people all over could recognize the name.
Kubin has received praise from both Gov. Chris Christie and Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr., congratulating her on her efforts.
The most rewarding aspect of the whole experience, Kubin said, has been walking around the Morristown area and seeing people wearing the hats she's made.
"It's so fulfilling to be able to see them actually being used and keeping people warm," she said. "It's just such an amazing feeling."
To donate a hat or other winter items to Emily's Hats for Hope Initiative, mail them to P.O. Box 2374, Morristown, NJ 07962-2374.