When Como-Pickton High School's Family, Career and Community Leaders of America officers recently viewed a video for a nationwide campaign, “Shoes for Orphan Souls,” their hearts immediately went out to the children in need of such basic articles.
“It was just breathtaking,” said FCCLA adviser Mallory Horne. “The kids came to me and said, ‘We have to do this.’”
According to Horne, people often think to collect coats and clothing for those in need, but forget about the simple necessity of shoes.
“You don’t realize how many people don’t have shoes,” she emphasized.
That’s why Como-Pickton FCCLA has teamed up with Buckner International to ask local residents to help them collect shoes for orphaned children around the world.
The “Souls for Orphan Children” shoe drive aims to gather more than 200,000 pairs of shoes, socks and shoestrings that will be distributed to 55 countries.
Since 1999, Buckner has handed out approximately 1.5 million pairs of shoes to at-risk children in the U.S. and around the globe.
“Millions of children reside in orphanages throughout our world,” stated Rachel Garton, director of the organization www.shoesfororphansouls.org. “And those orphanages are not receiving enough money to care for the children’s most basic needs.”
Among those basic needs is something most of us take for granted, Garton went on to say.
“We may not be able to walk a mile in the shoes of an orphan child,” Horne said thoughtfully. “But you can help an orphan walk into a brighter future wearing a new pair of shoes.”
The Como-Pickton FCCLA chapter, like Horne herself, is in its first year at the school.
“We have 18 members from my family and consumer science classes,” she explained. “And our focus this year is to let the people know that we’re here. We volunteer to help in the community as much as we can. Anything we can do to pull the community together and get the community involved, that’s what FCCLA is here for.”
Horne said the goal at Como-Pickton High School is to collect at least 100 pairs of shoes, but she would love to see that number tripled.
Shoes of all sizes may be dropped off at Como-Pickton school or Latson Printing and Office Supply, located at 1217 South Broadway St. in Sulphur Springs.
“Any shoes, any sizes — we just ask that they be new and preferably with a closed toe,” Horne said. “Just good old tennis shoes or work boots would be great.”
The shoe drive runs through Friday, Feb. 27. For more information, call 903-488-3671 ext. 4200.
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