Roots and Shoots and shoes

Tomah High School's Roots and Shoots Club is hosting a shoe drive that will run until Jan. 15, 2019. The shoes will go to 25 different countries. Pictured (left to right): Adviser Gretchen Meacham, Hunter Eirschele, Sydney Moore, Clara Krause, Kendyll Hericks, Ellie Krause and Hannah Walters.

Everyone needs shoes, but not everyone has them.

Clara Krause, president of Tomah High School’s Roots and Shoots Club, said the fact that not everyone has access to a pair of shoes is why her club decided to host a shoe drive as a service project and fundraiser.

“We all have lots of shoes we can choose from every day, and the idea that some people don’t have shoes to choose from each day made us want to help give them that option,” she said. “There are 25 different countries (the shoes) will be sent to.”

The countries are: Haiti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Morocco, Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Ukraine, several Eastern Europe countries, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, India and Philippines.

Roots and Shoots is a volunteer organization that performs service projects that assist people, the environment and animals.

The organization Funds2Orgs is helping Roots and Shoots organize the shoe drive.

Krause said the club hopes to get the whole community involved in the project. Its goal is to collect 2,500 pairs of shoes.

“They can be any size, type — they can be men’s, women’s children’s, heels, sandals, anything,” she said. “They can be new or used, we prefer used as long as they don’t have any holes in them and the soles are not completely worn. We’re expecting to get mainly used shoes because that’s what people can donate.”

The shoe drive kicked off at the end of November and will run until Jan. 15, 2019. As of Dec. 5 the club has collected 150 pairs of shoes. Most were donated by a local church that had shoes left over from a rummage sale, Krause said.

The project does more than just give people shoes to wear, Krause said; it helps people support themselves.

“All shoes collected will be distributed to micro enterprises all over the world,” she said. “The micro enterprises are then able to sell the shoes in their small businesses. The profits help to feed, clothe and home the families of the employees in very poverty-struck communities in the 25 different countries.”

It also acts as a fundraiser for Roots and Shoots, Krause said. For every pound of shoes the club gathers it will receive 40 cents.

“We thought it was a good idea because we’re helping people but can also get money back because we’re limited in the fundraisers we can do,” she said. “We’ve a very small club, about 12 members total, so it’s just hard to fund-raise, particularly at the high school”

She said the club conducts a bake sale, but added “it’s hard to get a lot of funds through students because students don’t have the most amount of money and we have few (members), we can’t do too big of a fundraiser because there’s not enough hands.”

Anyone interested in donating shoes can drop them off at Partnership Bank, Tomah Area Credit Union, Timberwood Bank, Anytime Fitness, EverFit, Tomah Public Library, Oakdale Electric and any Tomah Area School District school.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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