In reality, hundreds of children in Scott County’s schools are in need of these basic necessities each year. That’s why the Scott County Rotary Club started its annual shoe fund drive, which is now in its 29th year.
Throughout the month, the club will be collecting monetary donations of any amount. From there, shoes and socks will be purchased locally and distributed to children in time for the holidays.
“I have one son, and…he’s never had to worry about shoes. He’s never had to worry about clothes. There are so many kids that do, and it just makes you feel great that you can help a kid and know they’re going home with a pair of warm shoes and socks,” said Chris Kimbler, chairman of the shoe fund.
A tradition begins
Rotary Club member Jim Addington said the shoe fund drive stems from humble beginnings. When the drive first began, club members pulled together enough of their own money to purchase between 20 and 30 pairs of shoes.
“That was just a drop in the bucket,” Addington said. “We saw what the need was and said, ‘The club can’t do it just on the members. You’ve got to have community support,’ and that’s when we started the Scott County children’s shoe fund, and the community has been so supportive. It’s just unbelievable.”
Today, hundreds of children in all of Scott County’s schools benefit from the shoe fund drive. Each year, the schools send Kimbler shoe sizes for the students in need, and all shoes are purchased from Payless Shoes in the Fort Henry Mall in Kingsport.
A big goal
Kimbler said the club raised enough money to purchase around 570 pairs of shoes last December as part of its shoe fund, and the club hopes to hit the same mark this year.
In addition, funds are used to purchase shoes and clothing for the club’s back-to-school fund, which also benefits Scott County students. Combining the shoe fund and the back-to-school fund, the club purchased over 700 pairs of shoes last year, Kimbler said.
How to help
Donations can be mailed to Children’s Shoe Fund, c/o Rotary Club of Scott County, P.O. Box 728, Gate City, VA 24251.
“Rotary does so much for the school kids, and that’s one of the biggest things that we thrive on is our schools,” Kimbler said. “I think it’s great to keep the money here in the county and do so much for our people.”