Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Thousands of Shoes Line Alabama State Capitol Steps

The state capitol is often the site of political rallies and demonstrations, but it's not often you see rows and rows of shoes out front.
There were literally thousands of pairs of shoes lining the steps Monday night -- 6,029 pairs to be exact. That's the same number of foster children in Alabama.
"It's personal for me. I'm a former foster and adoptive child myself," said Lee Marshall, founder of the Kids to Love organization, and advocacy group for foster children.
"We can't always show the faces of these children for confidentiality reasons, but we can let these shoes stand in the place of the foster children, to send a clear message to lawmakers," she explained.
Marshall says the goal is to increase state funding for foster families, which right now is just $8 per child per day.
"Foster children in our state get less than we spend on prisoners in a day," Marshall said.
So what's next for these 6,029 used shoes? Another organization, "Soles 4 Souls" has agreed to exchange them for three times as many new shoes, which will be distributed to Alabama's foster children.
Shelby County foster parent, Joette Vick says, "They will also receive a Bible. So we will be putting not only three new pairs of shoes, but a Bible in the hand of every foster child in the state."
Souls4Soles grew out of an effort to provide shoes to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Now, it too, is seeing the value in providing for Alabama's foster children.

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