During the month of March you can help members of the Diversity Kiwanis Club with their annual Guatemala Shoe Drive.
Shoes that are collected will be packed and shipped to Mayan Families, a non-profit group operating in the Highlands of Guatemala. Organizers say shoes help prevent diseases and provide opportunities for children to go to school, since many schools require children to wear shoes. They also say many children need shoes to walk rocky roads or terrain to go to school. The club conducted its first shoe drive in the spring of 2008 collecting around 1,200 pairs of shoes along with used clothing, toiletry items and toys. The club raised money to cover the cost of shipping the shoes through various fundraising activities. The club has since shipped shoes each year and last year shipped over 1,500 pairs.
Here's how you can help. All month long the club is asking for donations of new and nicely used children's shoes, up to women's size 7 and men's size 10. Shoes can be dropped off at any of the following locations: both Sioux Falls YWCA locations, Hope Lutheran Church, Spirit of Peace UCC and the Center for Scouting.
Diversity Kiwanis Club is a local organization of professionals dedicated to changing the world, one child and one community at a time. The club meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month over the lunch hour.
Monday Morning on the KSFY morning news we will be speaking with Carla Cooey. Carla and her husband Bruce adopted their daughter, Isabella, from Guatemala in 2005. Carla says she was struck by the level of poverty she saw while visiting the country. Carla says she saw so many children that had no shoes or had shoes with holes in them. She says some of the holes had been cut out on purpose to allow the shoes to be worn by children with feet that were too large for the shoes.
When they came back to the U.S. Carla says they became involved with a charity in Guatemala, Mayan Families, to sponsor children to attend school. Mayan Families is a small non-profit group operating in the Highlands of Guatemala. Carla says remembering all of the children she saw without shoes in Guatemala, she decided to approach a service group that she was a part of (Diversity Kiwanis,) to start a shoe drive to collect new and used shoes that could be shipped to those needy children in Guatemala and distributed by Mayan Families.
Carla says she was able to distribute some of the shoes the club had collected that first year on a visit to Guatemala. With Mayan Families, she distributed shoes to children in the community of San Jorge, Guatemala. She says children were lined up for hours waiting to receive a pair of shoes.
Join the KSFY Morning News Monday morning to learn more about this great shoe drive. We will be live with organizers at the Hope Lutheran Church from 5:00am - 7:00am.
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