Shoe collection to aid Laurel youth

Shoe collection to aid Laurel youth

Aug. 26–CORBIN — By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer

In an effort to bring awareness to a problem and help with a solution, the Eastside Church of God will worship without shoes this Sunday.

The congregation will see what it is like to live for one morning without shoes, according to pastor Randall Lee.

“This is about helping the children in the schools that don’t have sufficient funds to purchase shoes,” Lee said.

Alyssa Vannorstran, a youth outreach program volunteer with the church said she believes it will be a “very different” experience for congregation members and will hopefully bring awareness and “open peoples eyes” to the shoe drive.

The church has been holding fundraisers for the past month to help purchase shoes for the children of Laurel County.

The community-wide effort has been taking place throughout the month of August and will finish up this week. United Way of Laurel County teamed up with local churches and businesses to collect as many new pairs of tennis shoes for Laurel County youth during August in preparation for the start of the school year.

“We just had identified there was a great need for suitable shoes for students in Laurel County,” said Judy Nicholson, director of the United Way/United Aid of Laurel County, explaining the determination was made by talking with teachers and family resource directors.

“It’s amazing at what they come to school with on their feet; one little boy came to school with the toes cut out of his shoes just so they would fit him,” Nicholson said. After discussing the idea throughout the summer, it was decided to have the event in August to help children get ready to go back to school.

Shoes of all sizes are needed. Only new shoes will be accepted.

“There is no reason that kids shouldn’t have suitable shoes,” Nicholson said, adding that she had been astounded at the support that the shoe collection had received.

“The support has been so phenomenal and we hope that it will become an annual event,” Nicholson said.

Though the shoe collection efforts have been headed up by local churches and businesses, anyone can donate, including youth groups, dance teams, and families. All shoes should be dropped off at the Old YMCA gym, located on the Bennet Center Campus, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. August 26-29 or at the final Thursday Night Live on Thursday, August 29. During that Thursday Night Live,

First Baptist East Bernstadt will lead an inspirational dance, entitled “Dance Your Shoes Off Laurel County.”

Other churches participating in the shoe drive include: First Baptist Church East Bernstadt, First Baptist London, Freedom Christian Fellowship, Souls’ Harbor Church, Carmichael Community Church, First United Methodist Church (CONNECT ministry), Pilgrim Rest, Calvary Baptist, First Christian Church, Bethel Holiness Church, East Bernstadt Church of God and Living Hope Church.

Local businesses that are also participating include: Senture, Jackson Energy, London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce, and Saint Joseph London.

After all the shoes have been collected, they will then be divided among Family Resource Centers in Laurel County schools and given out on an as-needed basis, according to Nicholson.

“It’s a project that the whole county can feel good about,” Nicholson said.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact Nicholson, director of the United Way/United Aid of Laurel County, at 330-0702.