By DAVID GREEN
Shoes or money. That's what the Fayette United Methodist Church missions staff asked of the church members. They got some of each and it led to a successful project called Shoes for Eagle Feet.
"We were looking for a new project to take on," said missions staff member Robin Pfund. "We did brainstorming and discovered that shoe projects were being done across the country."
The group knew there was a need locally—they had heard from school officials that some students come to school with ill-fitting or worn out shoes—so they set a goal of 100 pairs of shoes to give away.
Once a month a missions offering was taken at the church service—passing shoe boxes along the pews, of course—and the project was underway.
"We learned that Shoe Carnival [shoe store] has been involved in similar projects so we called the store at Spring Meadows," Pfund said. "The clerk there was really helpful. She took it on and made it work."
Thirty-five pairs of new shoes were donated by church members. With the money collected, nearly 100 pairs were purchased at Shoe Carnival at a good discount. Fayette schools sent out an alert notifying district residents of a give-away planned Aug. 15 for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Families participating in the United Way backpack distribution were also notified.
"We gave away 60 pairs, although we had to go back and exchange a few for larger feet," Pfund said. She's not concerned about leftovers. "We figure we'll have the need for more throughout the school year."
It was an interesting experience for missions staff members last week as they played the role of shoe store workers, helping children determine just the right fit.
"There were some tickled little faces," Pfund said. "Every kid walked out with a new pair of shoes and a pair of socks. Shoe Carnival gave us the shoes that kids want. That's was a key."
School teachers often notice their students wearing shoes that are too small, too big or just worn out, Pfund said. So far, there are 60 children who have a new pair that fit just right.
"We're very excited about it," Pfund said. "We plan to make it an annual event."