Each year, hundreds of children across the country and in our own school district go to school wearing shoes that don’t fit, or are falling apart, or belong to a sibling—or worse, a stranger. Some don’t even have that, and can’t go to school at all. But last week, families with students at West University Elementary collected nearly 1,100 pairs of new athletic shoes and 3,500 pairs of socks to be distributed among economically disadvantaged children at thirteen other HISD schools. Inside each box, a child will find not only a brand-new, well-fitting pair of shoes, but also comfort, dignity, self-esteem, and hope.
The shoe drive was one of the school’s annual community service projects, which aims not only to support local charities, but also to educate students about the underlying problems that these organizations try to assuage.
Kindergartner Ruslan Prokofiev summarized the lesson simply: “It’s good to help others,” he said. Ruslan decorated a class collection box with wrapping paper covered with hearts to help inspire his classmates to get involved. Of the shoes he selected for a little girl named Trisha, he said, “I hope she’ll smile when she receives them. If it rains, her feet won’t get wet, because they’re new.”
In addition to the sock and shoe drive, students collected a total of $1,801 in cash for the ancillary “Just for Kicks” fundraiser that also supported Shoes That Fit. The Parsley family went a step further and set up a lemonade and cupcake stand to support the drive. Grace, Jamie, and Tom Parsley raised an impressive $94 to add to the grand total. This collection exceeds last year’s drive by more than 31 percent.
To learn more, visit www.shoesthatfit.org.