Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Signal Mountain’s American Haitian Foundation is collecting shoes for children and adults in Haiti in a barrel labeled Soles for Haiti at Signal Mountain Athletic Club.
“We all have closets full of shoes,” said AHF President and Signal Mountain resident Jack Davidson. “Sometimes kids wear shoes for two to three weeks and grow out of them. The American Haitian Foundation is in need of women’s, men’s and children’s slightly worn shoes to benefit students of Haiti’s St. Antoine School as well as residents nearby.”
Davidson said AHF’s goal is to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes, including flip flops, sandals, boots, water shoes and dress shoes. A parishioner at St. Augustine Catholic Church, he said he hopes to involve other churches on the mountain in the drive.
J & S Shoes gives discounts to people purchasing shoes to drop off for Soles for Haiti.
Signal Mountain Athletic Club trainer Shannon Wyke said gym members and athletic club staff have already joined in the donation effort.
“We think he is doing a good work and we support him 100 percent,” said Wyke. “Even if you are not a gym member, help us in our effort to help Haiti.”
Club trainer Dave Phillips said the club’s owners Monique and Tommy Poteet filled up the first barrel by themselves. He said he hopes the second barrel will also be full of shoes soon as gym members and staff continue cleaning out their closets to bring in their gently worn tennis shoes.
The donated shoes will be shipped to Haiti in early September, where AHF plans to set up a small distribution center inside the St. Antoine School. Students and their family members can then go through and select a pair of shoes.
“I saw that children in Haiti all have shoes to go to school, but save them by going barefoot in the afternoons,” said AHF board member Joanne Denise. “Some people travel a long ways barefoot. We saw people barefoot carrying water containers at 6 a.m.”
Denise said everyone on Signal Mountain will probably buy new summer sandals, so why not donate their old pair.
The American Haitian Foundation nonprofit, founded in 2000, has raised more than $5 million to build a school, homes, churches, roads, bridges, as well as educate and feed thousands of children each year in Haiti.