Student story: Belleville West Key Club wants your old shoes

Belleville West High SchoolFebruary 17, 2014 

Giving is always an important social responsibility that many people try to fulfill. However, some people get stuck, because they do not know what to give or where to give items to those in need.

Belleville West High School's Key Club is organizing a drive to help with this. If anyone has shoes they want to donate, they can take them to math teacher Jennifer Stauffer's room and drop them off to help provide shoes to people in developing nations.

"Key Club is collecting any type of used shoes: women's, men's, kids, heels, tennis shoes -- anything like that. Then they will be sold for really cheap rates or traded," sophomore Leah Stock said.

Students and community members can drop off as many shoes as they like because each pair of shoes makes a difference.

"I think this is a great fund-raiser because a lot of us girls, myself included, have a lot of old shoes that we don't want to throw away but don't want any more," Stock said.

No matter how worn out the shoes are, the shoe drive will take them. Although the shoe drive helps give people shoes who cannot afford them, it also helps in anohter way.

"The shoe drive is a part of the Shoeman Water Project in St. Louis. He collects the shoes and sells them to Third World countries and then he takes the money and drills wells in those third world countries," Stauffer said.

George "The Shoeman" Hutchins founded the Shoeman Water Project back in 2008, because he saw the need for clean water wells in Kenya and Haiti. With the knowledge that well-drilling equipment is expensive, he created the shoe donation program as a way to earn money.

The system works like this: Donated shoes are sent to the countries in need where street vendors sell the shoes to raise money to drill water wells, supplying many communities with clean water. The shoe drive can be beneficial to many people who have different needs.

"It benefits people who don't have shoes and prevents hookworm. It also benefits communities that don't have clean water, and it helps to prevent different diseases that can contaminate their usual water," Stauffer said.

Helping multiple people at once makes this shoe drive an important one. Since this shoe drive does not happen very often, the shoe drive should have a successful ending.

"This is the second time Key Club has done this shoe drive. The last time we did this shoe drive was about three years ago," Stauffer said.

Many shoes have already been donated to the shoe drive as numerous students have brought in huge bags or baskets filled with shoes.

"I think that the shoe drive will be successful because there (are) a lot of shoes coming in," Stauffer said.

"I do think it will have a good turnout because there are a lot of people who do not want their old shoes any more and want to get rid of them," Stock said.

Having a positive turnout will be great for everyone. It will help people in developing nations that do not have enough money to buy shoes; it will help people who do not have water and stop diseases; and it will help everyday people by getting rid of the old shoes in the back of their closets.

"This is a great way to help others especially in developing countries," Stock said.

Around 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to improved water sources. With student help, this number can go down, maybe not by much, but even the smallest help can make a difference.

For more information about the shoe drive, contact Jennifer Stauffer at jstauffer@bths201.org or call the school at 222-7500.

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