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Rotary Clubs Collect Shoes for Orphans

An assembly line formed early Friday morning outside the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph. Rotary members from three clubs handed boxes, filled with shoes, from one person to the next.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Shoes fill our closets, sit on our door mats and end even up in our garage sales.

This basic need is something many kids go without.

But, a group here in St. Joseph is giving back in a big way to change that.

An assembly line formed early Friday morning outside the Remington Nature Center in St. Joseph.

Rotary members from three clubs handed boxes, filled with shoes, from one person to the next.

"Here in st. Joseph, [this] is a shining example of the kind of support Rotarians are giving orphans around the world," said Larry Lunsford, KC Plaza Rotary club.

They're working with Buckner Ministries to ship thousands of shoes to kids in need. It's all part of their Shoes for Orphan Souls service project.

"People are surprised to learn that footbourne diseases kill thousands of children each year," said Scott Collins, Buckner International.

Collins said these shoes not only help prevent disease, but they also help kids grow in other ways.

"Probably one of the greatest reasons that we give shoes to these kids is that it gives them hope," he said.

Rotarians worked with students from Benton High School to collect shoes and money locally.

"We appreciate the support of the community. A lot of shoe stores worked with us and we really appreciate that," said Sherri Hahn, East Side Rotary Club president.

"I think St. Joseph is a great example of involving not just the Rotarians but the local community in a service project for children," added Lunsford.

The shoes have a few steps along the way before their final delivery.

"Once we leave St. Joseph today, we'll finish our caravan through north Missouri. Then, these shoes will be transported to Dallas, Texas where they will be sorted and warehoused and prepared for international delivery," said Lunsford.

"We vet them very carefully to make sure they are a genuine organization and then we will give them shoes if they pass the qualifications," Collins added.

The project ships 250-300 thousand pairs of shoes to more than 79 countries each year. Rotarians in the District 6040 have been collecting shoes for the project since 2001.

Statewide, Rotary clubs have collected more than 200,000 pairs of shoes since they first joined the effort.
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