When it came to summing up the school’s annual Shoe Drive fundraiser for this year, Kegonsa Elementary School principal Erin Conrad quoted Fred “Mister” Rogers.
“He said ‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news (and) my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping,’” she wrote in an email to the Hub. “(Those) words so perfectly capture what I believe to be true about our Stoughton and school community.”
Kegonsa students, staff and families are getting toward the end of a two-month drive to collect shoes, which will end on Saturday, Jan. 9. Led by the Kegonsa Working for Kids group, they are partnering with around a dozen community businesses and organizations to host used shoe drop-off locations. With a few weeks to go, they are around halfway to their goal of collecting 2,500 pairs.
Conrad credited Kegonsa Working for Kids treasurer Kelly Harrington, a mother of two students, for bringing the idea to the group several years ago and making it “such a success.” Harrington said the school is working again this year with Funds 2 Orgs, which sends the shoes overseas to developing countries. Microenterprises then take these shoes, prepare for sale, and then sell them to make money for their families, she said.
“Please scour your closets and garages and sheds for any shoes that you don’t wear anymore, shoes kids have grown out of, or just purchased for that ‘one outfit that one time,’” Harrington wrote in an email to the Hub.
In the past, students voted to give the money to support Ollie, the Stoughton Police Department canine, and collected more than 2,500 pairs of shoes. This year, funds will go to the Giving Tree to support ongoing needs of area families throughout the year, Conrad said.
“We know from research that when we are grateful and give back we are more joyful,” she said. “This is something that we teach in our schools and fundraisers like this one organized by our parent group help us give back in meaningful ways.”
For information on the drive, email Harrington at KegonsaWFK@gmail.com.