Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Framingham Students Donate Shoes

High school students in Framingham, MA have been collecting money and footwear for victims of the recent cyclone in Myanmar.

"It turned out that kids were extremely willing to give," said Alexandra Sousa, a junior at the school.

Sousa helped organize a drive to raise donations from students and staff for Soles4Souls. In about a week, students gathered more than 160 pairs of shoes and raised more than $540, said Sousa. The drive will continue until the last day of school, she said.

The late-year drive is a 3-year-old tradition at Framingham High, and part of teacher Kerry Wood's advanced placement course in English language and composition. Part of the class's goal is to encourage students to develop their persuasive writing skills and view themselves as world citizens, Wood said.

She said students picked the charity after a vote. Despite the fact that seniors are already gone and the collection took place over a few days, she said the response has been strong, Wood said.

"It's amazing, the number of kids dropping a pair of shoes in the collection box," she said.

Soles4Souls helps those living in disaster zones or in impoverished locations prevent foot injuries that can lead to disease, and is an essential part of a relief effort. A shipment of shoes intended for the victims of Myanmar has been held up.

Framingham High's Kerry Wood said students are aware of the difficulty of getting donations through to Myanmar.

"If it doesn't get to Myanmar, which is the intent, there are other countries that (could receive) the shoes," she said.

Another Framingham High junior, Rory Cahill, accepts Myanmar's government may block aid shipments, but knows someone will ultimately benefit from donations made by his classmates.

"Wherever there's need, what we've collected can help that," said Cahill, who works with St. Andrew's Church to do charity work, including raising money for a water pump in an African country.

"Shoes seem like they're not very common (to collect), but they're something that need to be given to people who've lost everything," said Cahill.

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