Huntsville Students Aim to Collect 5,000 Pairs of Shoes for Developing Countries

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Members of a new service club at New Century Technology High School are trying to round up shoes -- lots of shoes -- like 5,000 pairs.

They're trying to bring something taken for granted in America to places where they're considered a hot commodity.

These members of the Beta Club don't need to walk in the shoes of people in third world countries to know what they need.  They've researched it.

"One woman, she couldn't breast feed her child and she traded a pair of shoes for a goat so she could feed her baby," said Cailin Simpson, an organizer of the shoe drive.  "So that's how rare of a commodity these shoes are in developing nations.

The 16-year-old junior at New Century Technology High School said all kinds of shoes are needed.

"Any type of shoes, heeled shoes, children's shoes, adult shoes.. any shoes are acceptable."

She said companies will even repair or recycle shoes that aren't up to par.

Simpson and her classmates are trying to collect the shoes to send to countries in West Africa, South America and Central America.  "We buy a new pair of shoes to match our outfit.  And we don't think about other people who don't have those means."

The school didn't just stop at asking for shoes from their own students.

"Our members have been going to their churches, to their youth group, they've been reaching out all over the place trying to get shoes to donate, just trying to get people in Huntsville to think about others," said Regina Oliver, another member of the Beta Club at New Century.

Oliver said they approached and recruited 10 other schools in Huntsville to participate in the drive.

And the club sponsor is thrilled with how the students recognize need beyond the United States' border.

"They don't think about themselves," said Assistant Principal and Beta Club sponsor Veronica Haley.  "They put themselves out there for others."

Haley says she'll see to it the shoe drive is an annual event for the newly-formed Beta Club.

The shoe drive goes through Wednesday, March 19th.  Students will accept shoes outside the school on Saturday, March 15th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the school, located at 2700 Meridian Street.

Delivery pickup will be Friday, March 21st, by the organization "funds-2-orgs".


  • Karl Z

    These organizations are BS.. considering we have poor people in the United States who need shoes- Try finding shoes at goodwill when your down on your luck – you can’t.. Just more feel good yuppy BS

    • Thanatos

      This will continue as long as we allow it The people behind these third world pity parties seem to have forgotten you take care of your own first and foremost. Just look at the billions our government spends in foreign aid when it could be used here.

      • Glo

        You should be glad these kids are doing something positive. If they were out gang-banging and causing trouble you would be complaining about that, too. Some folks are just too evil to be happy about anything!

    • Glo

      I’m glad there are some “feel-good” people around. Beats the “I’m- miserable-and-everyone-else-should-be-too” group. Which one are you in?

  • Rhonda Stafford Bills

    I agree! I commend and applaud the efforts of these high schoool kids for thinking of others. They are placing others needs before their own
    and are less likely to commit crimes against others. It doesn’t matter where the shoes are sent, what matters is that these kids had the desire to help others. Is a human less of a human because they live in Africa?

  • Jeannie Havel

    While I applaud teaching students to appreciate the plight of less fortunate children in West Africa, South America, and Central America, I hope they were presented with a comprehensive picture of poverty in their own community, including their own school. Here are some facts to consider about a number of Huntsville public high schools:

    (A key factor in determining poverty is the number of school students who are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program).

    Lee HS: Total number of students 806; Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program – 64%.

    Jo Johnson HS: Total number of students 585; Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 74%.

    S.R. Butler HS: Total number of students 639; Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 79%.

    New Center Technology HS: Total number of students 304; Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 41%.

    State averages at Alabama high schools: Students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch program 55%.


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