Sneaker drive helps over 500 local families | New
The Stillwater sneaker drive received more than 500 pairs of shoes, and nearly a week after the drive ended, organizers said shoes were still being donated, some outside of Stillwater.
Stillwater Public Schools, Grand Lake Mental Health Center and The Salvation Army worked with the community and local businesses to help make the sneaker drive a success.
“We are very grateful to our community and we must continue to work with them and support them in return,” said Diana Nolan, social worker with SPS. “This collaboration is so important. If I had made the sneaker route on my own, it wouldn’t have been so successful.
Debra Thompson, of Grand Lake Mental Health, said the sneaker campaign was a big success, even though it was the first year to do so.
“This is the first time that we are doing this,” said Thompson. “The need is great, I’m really happy with it. The way everyone got down to it was amazing, everyone was on board. “
A local teenager received a pair of new shoes from the sneaker drive on Wednesday. Thompson said the teenager was more than grateful to receive the shoes.
“Yesterday I took a kid there, she’s 17 and she said ‘I didn’t know I could have such nice shoes,’” said Thompson.
Nolan said it felt good to know the first pair of shoes was successful and said it would be an annual donation. With more than 500 shoes to date, Nolan said at least 500 families will be affected by this shoe campaign.
Shoes aren’t the only gift helping children and families in the area – it’s a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.
“Usually what happens is when we help with shoes, we don’t just help with shoes,” Nolan said. “We have these conversations… sometimes the shoes are just the tip of the iceberg. While talking to them, if we find that there are other needs that we can meet, we do. “
Nolan said the bus was a visual representation to show the community rather than donating an objective amount. Although the bus was not fully filled, Nolan said a “huge impact” had been made.
Nolan said transportation is a barrier everywhere, but especially in Stillwater.
She said that many families and their children would be walking around town together.
“For many of our families, these shoes are not just a nice accessory, they are a necessity because they are standing, walking everywhere,” she said. “For our children, in particular, shoes are confidence because it is an accessory… They come in, they have shoes that look good, smell good, feel good. When all of these things happen, you are better prepared to learn.
The goal of the sneaker drive was to help families and children in need.
Although the sneaker campaign is over, Thompson said they still accept donations and adult shoes are still needed.
“It looks like it would be really nice to have more women who are adult sizes that someone in high school or college would feel good about wearing,” Thompson said.