By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — For at least a decade, students at All Saints Catholic School have been collecting “Shoes for the Shoeless” each fall to help children and adults in need.
“It began with another teaching partner and has just grown through the years,” said fourth-grade teacher Deb Frick. Students in her class and the fourth-grade class of Mary Morrison help organize the shoe drive. “I think we selected this time of year because the weather is getting colder so we think about others who need another pair of shoes,” Frick added.
Families tend to clean their closets and garages of summer shoes around this time of year and think about warmer shoes for the upcoming cold weather. Students collect shoes in sizes for toddlers, boys, girls, women and men. “This year we received an abundance of baby-type toddler shoes.”
Students began their shoe drive the first week of October and finished the Monday before Thanksgiving. “We have never counted the pairs of shoes. We usually just count the number of boxes. This year, I think is our highest amount of boxes,” Frick said. Organizers tallied 34 boxes after sorting and repacking shoes in boxes. Students also collected new pairs of socks — “two boxes full” this year.
In the past, the shoes were shared with the Davenport Vets store, Salvation Army and Humility of Mary Housing and Shelter. This year’s shoes were shared with Friendly House and Sacred Heart Cathedral Clothing Center, both in Davenport.
“The students take it very seriously,” Frick noted. “We put posters up around school. We advertise in four or five church bulletins. Various students also make announcements during the week (through the school office). To get a big ‘Thank You’ from the folks at the Friendly House or to actually see a mom or dad look among the boxes and pull out a pair of shoes to try on makes it all worthwhile. Caring for others should be what we all do!”
Fourth-grader Alexis Erbst said she brought in shoes donated by her sister and great-aunt. Her grandmother bought socks to donate. “The best part of the project was sorting with my friends,” Alexis said. “I learned that I am glad that I have all the shoes and clothes I need plus more. I am thankful when my mom buys me shoes.”
Fourth-grader Ella Heinrichs donated shoes from her mom, her sister and her closet. Ella enjoyed making announcements about the project and listening to other students making announcements. “This project was a good service project,” she said. “I felt good being able to help others.”