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Teens Gathering Shoes to Send to Africa

Teens Gathering Shoes to Send to Africa



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Keith McCord Reporting If you have a pair of running shoes that you or your kids no longer need or have grown out of, Judge Memorial Catholic High School wants them! The school has organized a running shoe drive and plans to deliver the shoes to students in South Africa.

The Athletic Department office at Judge High School is overflowing with shoes, boxes and bags of them, of all sizes and colors, hundreds of them, even spilling out into the hallway.

Cross country coach Mattie Reed said, "We don't have anywhere to store them, so we're just stacking them higher and higher. I don't know, we might be run out of here pretty soon, but that's OK."

The shoes started coming in when Reed was looking for an outreach project for her runners. One of her running students, Ellie McMillan, said her family traveled to South Africa periodically. Ellie's father, Dave, grew up there; and years ago, her mother Heidi watched a South African woman, named Evelina, run in a race, barefooted. After the race, Heidi donated her running shoes to the woman.

Donating a pair of shoes to a runner from South Africa, might seem like a small thing, but after she received the shoes, Evelina went on to become a national champion! Maybe there are more champions out there.

Heidi McMillan says, "Obviously it wasn't my shoes that won her the national championships, but I thought it was nice that they were there on the person who was winning and helped her; but it's really inspiring meeting people like that."

The shoe drive began in earnest in early September, and everyone is pleasantly surprised at how it's taken off.

Dave McMillan says, "It's wonderful to see how the community of Judge and the larger community have turned out. We have parents of Judge kids putting boxes in their places of work. It's gone beyond the immediate confines of the school."

In early November the McMillan's will gather up all the shoes and, through charity and athletic organizations in South Africa, get them to those who need them. It's a project that a family of runners is more than happy to do.

Judge's shoe drive runs through October 19. If you'd like to donate, take your shoes to the school. Shoes for any sport are welcome.

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