Eric Swanson Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Ada — When Randi Woods’ daughter celebrated her ninth birthday, she decided to collect shoes for kids instead of asking for presents.
Two years later, Woods’ daughter is a member of Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma Troop 1295, and her birthday shoe drive has prompted the troop to tackle a similar project.
The Scouts are teaming up with Buckner International, a Dallas-based nonprofit organization, to collect shoes for needy children. Organizers of Buckner’s national Shoes for Orphan Souls shoe drive are hoping to collect more than 200,000 pairs of new shoes and socks this year.
“We have seen the smiles that a new pair of shoes brings to children in the orphanages we visit, and we want to extend that same joy to others like them,” Ashley Williamson, project coordinator for Shoes for Orphan Souls, said in a news release. “Because of Girl Scout Troop 1925’s commitment to this program, we can continue to increase the number of children who will benefit from a pair of new shoes and socks.”
Under Woods’ direction, Troop 1925 is collecting new athletic and canvas shoes for kids, along with socks and shoelaces. Cash donations will also be accepted to help provide shoes and cover distribution costs.
People who want to participate in the shoe drive may drop off donations at White Rock Fitness, 1012 N. Mississippi, Suite 3; Woods Dirt Contractors, 2200 N. Broadway; and the Oklahoma Department of Human Services’ Pontotoc County office, 2320 Arlington, Suite B. The drive began Monday and will run through Dec. 31.
The drive had generated only donation as of Thursday afternoon, but the number of contributions may increase as people learn about the project, Woods said. She said people may want to make a donation in honor of a relative of friend, and they can tuck hand-written notes into the shoes if they wish.
Woods said the troop, which is conducting the drive as a community service project, need to collect 50 to 55 pairs of shoes by the deadline.
“I know they’re really excited about it, and I think we’ll reach the goal,” she said. “And I hope we exceed it.”