Unique fundraiser puts best foot forward with shoe collection


KINSTON, Lenoir County - It's a not-so-ordinary fundraiser that is helping students compete and businesses to support their families in developing countries.

"I think we just get tired of selling the same things, cookies, candy wrapping paper, things like that," said Stephanie Harrell, TSA Advisor at Contentnea Savannah School in Kinston.

It's probably not what you think when you hear the word fundraiser. But this group of middle school students is putting their best foot forward by collecting gently worn shoes to send to small businesses in poor countries. Places like Panama, Haiti and Bangladesh will benefit.

Micro-entrepreneurs in those countries will sell the shoes and use the proceeds to support their families. For each pound of shoes the students collect, the students profit a few cents.

"It takes money to run a student organization, it takes money to go to competition, it takes money to buy materials to make things for competition," Harrell said.

Harrell is the faculty advisor for TSA, which helps students with skills in science, engineering and mathematics. Logan Johnson has been a member of TSA for two years. While he said he enjoys the competitions, helping people is what he gets most excited about.

"I think the people we're helping is benefiting more than we are because we're privileged," Johnson said. "Everyone in this room is privileged. and the people overseas aren't privileged so we have to help them out."

One pair of shoes at a time. They have collected more than 100 pairs of shoes in just five days. Donations for the shoe drive will be taken until Nov. 20