Friday, December 12, 2008

Key Club Sole Project

When the Harrisonburg High School Key Club in Harrisburg, VA began collecting shoes for those in need, its members never anticipated the response the project would receive.

Since the beginning of November, when it began collecting shoes for Soles4Souls, the club has gathered between 1,200 and 1,300 pairs of footwear.
HHS teachers, staff members and students donated all but about 80 pairs of the shoes the Key Club has collected, said Maurizio "Tony" Antonnicola, club adviser. Some of the shoes are gently used, while others are practically brand new, he said.

"It turned out to be much more successful than we thought it would,"" said Meredith Rose, 17, a senior and Key Club member, of the project.

In fact, many of the Key Club members were skeptical about the project at first because they didn't think it would draw much of a response, Antonnicola said.

It wasn't until a national news story aired about a college basketball coach who went barefoot to draw attention to the need for shoes around the world that students really got on board with the project, Antonnicola said.

After committing to the effort, Key Club members began getting the word out about the shoe drive. They told their friends about the project, erected a display near the school's library and broadcast it on the school's student news program.

Before they knew it, club members say, they had hundreds of pairs of shoes and the donations kept pouring in. The drive has really given students an insight into people's waste, they say.

"Statistics are great and all but they're just numbers,"" said Tina Nguyen, 17, a junior and Key Club member, referring to the statistics regarding the number of idle shoes. "This project was kind of an eye-opener."

Members of the club say their goal going into the drive was to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes, but they've already exceeded that and still have nine more days to collect donations.

As the drive enters its last days, club members say they hope to collect a few more pairs of children's shoes, before an HHS staff member hauls the donations to the Soles4Souls distribution center in Nashville, Tenn.

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