Students donate soles for souls _lowres

Advocate staff photo by STACY GILL -- Zachary Elementary students help sort through the 500-plus pairs of shoes donated by their families April 2, benefiting the Kiwanis shoe drive, Soles for Souls. Shoes will be accepted at the Zachary Fire Department through April 9. Gathered, from left, are Sean Ross, Cheylin Stephens, Principal Dewey Davis, Skylar Campbell, Andrea Condol, Destiny Williams, Dereck Thomas, Ian D'Amico and Benjamin Ross.

The Zachary Kiwanis Club is hosting a shoe drive to help with its goal of eliminating neonatal tetanus and to put shoes on the feet of people in places like Ghana, Haiti and India.

After hearing of the Kiwanis Club’s effort, Zachary Elementary Principal Dewey Davis sent word home with students April 1, and overnight, Zachary Elementary School had more than 500 pairs of shoes lining the hallways.

“It’s amazing, we sent no note, just a verbal request with our students, and they returned with bags and bags of shoes. Many pairs with the tags still on them,” Davis said.

Kiwanis has partnered with Funds2orgs.com, which will pay 40 cents for every pound of shoes.

The funds raised will pay to vaccinate mothers in 24 countries against neonatal tetanus, which kills one infant every 11 minutes, said local Kiwanian Al Phillips.

Zachary residents are asked to donate pairs of gently worn shoes to the drive. Any kind of shoe will be accepted — flip-flops, sandals, sneakers, cleats, loafers, boots, rubber boots, high heels, slippers and wedges, Phillips said.

“Your unwanted shoes will help save a baby’s life and the life of its mother,” said Phillips.

About 2 1/2 pairs of shoes fetch $1.80, which is enough to vaccinate a mother and prevent a child’s death, Phillips said.

Once received, Funds2orgs.com will help redistribute the shoes to microbusinesses in those countries, where otherwise unemployed people can get jobs cleaning and selling the shoes at prices people there can afford.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Phillips said.

Shoes can be dropped off any time through April 9 at the Zachary Fire Department, 4525 Main St.

The shoes will be bagged, weighed and shipped to Funds2orgs.com on April 11, Phillips said.