UNM Libraries isn’t just lending out books — it’s lending out helping hands.

From now until the end of the month, University Libraries is collaborating with the Albuquerque Indian Center for “Soup and Socks,” an initiative collecting donations of soup and socks for Native-American communities in need.

“We decided to do just soup and socks because it’s easier to focus on just a couple of items,” said Nancy Bennett, the library operations manager and event organizer.

Bennett said that UNM Libraries puts on drives twice a year: One is a drive for environmental and animal causes, and the other is a drive for people. She said that “Soup and Socks” went well during the last drive, which was focused on collecting food and towels for dogs and stray pups living on Indian reservations.

The Albuquerque Indian Center was chosen for its active participation in charitable activities.

“They’re a really small group and they help both homeless Native people as well as people with jobs that are just needing assistance,” Bennett said.

The Albuquerque Indian Center offers services like counseling and support, help with stopping substance abuse and food programs, according to their website.

“Anyone can come in and get help; you don’t have to be Native American,” Bennett said. “The staff was really dedicated.”

The “Soup and Socks” event is not just another channel through which to gather items for those in need, though. Bennett said it also to raises awareness to those the items will be going to.

“It’s just part of the University libraries’ outreach to the community and to get students involved with different things,” she said.

In terms of volunteering for these library programs in general, Bennett said that students can add new perspectives to volunteer committees at the library that would better promote services, awareness and issues to the student body.

“We are also trying to get students more involved in using the skills they learn in the library to be able to use in school and classes,” Bennett said.

She said that she would encourage creativity for those interested in volunteering.

“It’s not a lot of time that you would invest, but we’d need someone dedicated to be able to promise some time to research groups, to make fancier boxes and to be able to be our liaison to student groups,” she said.

Students who are interested in getting involved in “Soup and Socks” can contact Bennett at nbennett@unm.edu.

“The “Soup and Socks,” I think it’s going to be a success,” Bennett said. “Our goal is 500 pairs of socks and 500 cans of soup, and we have five donation boxes up for 14 days, so we should be able to do it. I’m just hoping we can reach our goals.”

The donation boxes are available for drop off in any UNM campus library.

Ariel Lutnesky is a culture reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @ArielLutnesky.