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".