August 27, 2013

Final days to collect shoes for Laurel County youth

By Carrie Dillard
Managing Editor

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Churches, businesses, non-profits and more have come together to make the inaugural “Dance Your Shoes Off Laurel County” shoe drive a success. 

There are too many students who don’t have proper footwear for back to school, said Judy Nicholson, director of the United Way/United Aid of Laurel County. 

“Two years ago, we bought shoes for some of the children that we served on our Summer Feeding routes,” she said.  “One of the boys, who was in the second year of middle school, had never been in a shoe store.  At the end of the day, he came up to me and thanked me for the shoes and said he didn’t think he would ever have shoes like this, even if he lived to be 100.”

This boy is just one example out of many in Laurel County who have a need, she said.

Joining the United Way, First Baptist Church East Bernstadt started “Dance Your Shoes Off Laurel County,” which was inspired by a similar project at a Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, and asked for other local churches to join them to help fill this need.

“Just through our ministry and being out in the county, we saw that there’s a need for shoes,” said Pastor Norm Brock. “Ultimately, this goal is not about church, or going to church, it’s about putting shoes on their feet.”

Businesses, including Jackson Energy, followed suit.  All Co-op office locations have begun their collection, and they will turn in their final donations this week.

You can help, too.  Tennis shoes of all sizes are needed. Only new shoes will be accepted.

Groups should collect as many new pairs of tennis shoes for Laurel County youth, then bring those shoes to Thursday Night Live on August 29.  The donated shoes will then be divided among Family Resource Centers in Laurel County schools.

Donations can also be dropped off during the week, Monday-Thursday, Aug. 26-29, at the Old YMCA gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“This is a community thing,” Nicholson said.  “If you can donate one pair of shoes, that will be one less child to go without.”

If you have any questions, contact Nicholson at 330-0702.