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Changing the world, one pair at a time
FULL OF SOUL – These students from the National Honor Society at OHCHS have been collecting shoes for their community service project. They will be sending them to Soles4Souls to be distributed throughout the world to needy countries and relief efforts. Left side on floor, front to back, Zebb Duffany, Ryan Billings, Maggie Whittemore and Tabatha Hawkins. Right side on floor: Reegan Brown, Brittany Crowninshield, Ben Millett and Montana Mawhinney. First row from left, Kemsen Searles, Matt McVety and Kayla Dore. Second row, Claire Stauder, Katy Emerson, Sarah Smith, Ruby Daybranch and Sydney Dunbar. Third row, Jordan Croteau, Zane Duffany and Lacey Cargnino.
OXFORD HILLS — Last year, Matt McVety made a college visit to Tufts University. He saw a box for students to donate shoes.
“I thought that was a great project!” he exclaimed. “And I mentioned it as being our service project this year for the National Honor Society. I searched for organizations that we could donate to that would distribute them around the world and Soles4Souls jumped out at me as being the best.”
Soles4Souls is an organization, based in Nashville that collects shoes from both footwear companies and the closets of people like Matt. Soles4Souls has given away over 14 million pairs of gently-worn shoes and has distributed them to over 120 countries in need as well as aiding in relief efforts such as Hurricane Katrina and the Asian Tsunami.
There are over 20 members of the OHCHS National Honor Society and they have been working hard to collect shoes from classmates, staff and neighbors.
“We got the word out by placing boxes by the office,” smiled Matt. “Then we advertised a ‘Competition of Classes’ to see which class could donate the most shoes and the faculty won!”
“We also have boxes placed at Pizza Hut and New Balance,” he added. “And we’ve put up flyers around the community as well.”
To date the students have collected over 650 pairs of shoes to donate to Soles4Souls.
“As the National Honor Society, we have to perform a service project every year and this is by far the biggest one we have ever done,” explained the senior. “Over 600 people around the world will possibly have shoes for the first time because of us.”
Matt said that besides collecting shoes, the students need to collect funds as well.
“Soles 4 Souls distributes the shoes around the world, but for that to happen we have to get the shoes to them. Their nearest warehouse is in Tennessee and we have over 900 pounds of shoes at an estimate of $650.”
The students have had some fundraisers already.
“In November, we had students pay to sponsor certain teachers to do ‘No Shave November.’ The more money that was spent on a teacher, the longer they had to go without shaving.”
“We also duct taped Mr. Moccia and Mr. Springer to the wall during Winter Carnival,” he added with a chuckle. “Students were able to pay for a strip of tape.”
With only a little over $100 raised, more fundraisers are needed in order to ship the shoes.
“We currently don't have any solid fundraisers, but we are trying to have a car wash within the next couple of weeks and it’s been mentioned to have a toll booth out in front of school to raise money.”
“And we need to send them before school gets out,” he added. “But donations will still be accepted after that due to the fact that we might have to expend some of our NHS funds a bit to send them out.”
Matt explains that shoes are something most of us take for granted.
“Footwear appears to us as a simple accessory, while people around the world have never owned a pair in their lives. It is our goal to change as many lives as possible and with the help of Soles4Souls, we can change the world one pair at a time.”
To donate shoes or money for shipping contact Jason Long, NHS advisor at the high school, 743-8914 or email@example.com.