2015-02-21 / The Rock

Used shoes sales give clean water to those in need

By Kalee Riley and Gavin Goodwin

Students Kalee Riley and Gavin Goodwin, along with Sandra Davis, pose with one of the shoe collection boxes. Students Kalee Riley and Gavin Goodwin, along with Sandra Davis, pose with one of the shoe collection boxes. Three Person High School (PHS) clubs — Interact, National Honor Society, and Key Club — are participating in a fundraiser that will aid families in Africa that are in need of clean water. Bringing gently used shoes is how the students are giving back.

Former PCS teacher, administrator and assistant superintendent Sandra Davis asked all of the schools in the district to collect shoes for a mission she is passionate about.

The project began when Davis’ husband became ill in 2010 and died of brain cancer in 2012.

“He had started to become interested in the importance of clean water,” Davis said. “We had always been thankful for the fact that we had clean water.”

About a month before Davis’ husband died, they were having a conversation about the future and he told her that some time after he passed he wanted her to do whatever she could to bring clean water to children, particularly children in the remote areas of Africa.

Davis and her husband knew that a leading cause of death for children in parts of the world was the absence of clean water.

When Davis originally began taking in donations, shoes were not part of the picture. An organization called Waterstep, which sent missionaries to African countries to help people learn how to fix water pumps, was the recipient of her initial collection of donations. She was later informed that Waterstep put a shoe project into action that required a donation sum of 4,000 pairs of shoes to begin the clean water process. Once the goal was reached, an exporter from Miami came to North Carolina to collect the shoes. Money collected from the sale of the shoes funds the Waterstep project to provide water purification to third world countries.

Davis said that she loves this project because the positive effects reach far beyond water purification.

“Shoes that are collected are then sorted, cleaned, and sold to different Third World countries,” Davis said. “The people he sells the shoes to then sell the shoes to people from their home countries.”

The shoe collection campaign started as something small between Davis’ church and neighbors and has spread countywide, helping her collect over 5,000 pairs of shoes so far.

Donation boxes are located on every floor at of the school for shoe drop-offs. Shoes must be wrapped in an individual bag, such as a plastic grocery bag.

Davis is glad that she can support Waterstep in memory of her husband, and she loves seeing the community-wide excitement for such a cause.

The PHS shoe drive runs through the month of February. The public is invited to help students contribute 4,000 pairs of shoes.

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