BELPRE - In an effort to make sure every student at Belpre Elementary School is warm and comfortable throughout the year, the Belpre High School Alumni Association is holding its first Shoe-In.
The organization best known for scholarships decided to branch out to aid not only the students preparing to enter college, but also those working to enter high school, said member Leslie Pittenger.
"We heard of a program being done in Marietta where money is collected by a group and they buy the shoes and we thought that was great, but saw a way to make it ours," said Pittenger, the Belpre city auditor.
Now through Oct. 29, new and gently used children's shoes - child sizes 10 through adult sizes 10 for boys and girls - can be dropped off at the elementary school on Rockland Avenue and the city building on Park Drive during business hours.
Shoes must be cleaned and labeled with the size.
"Children often outgrow shoes before they are even really worn and families often have a closet full of barely used shoes," Pittenger said. "This is a way to clean closets and give a child shoes they need."
Along with the shoes, the members plan to donate money to be sure what is needed is provided.
"No funds collected for scholarships will be used for this project," Pittenger said. "The alumni association keeps the scholarship money separate from other available funds, which will be used for the shoes."
"The alumni association really wants to get involved with the younger students," said association president Dana Fouss. "This Shoe-In is a great way to support the school and get the younger kids involved in the alumni association."
Along with tennis shoes, sneakers and boots, sport-specific shoes, such as soccer and baseball cleats, will also be accepted.
"Between the donations and funds available, we are hoping every child in the school will get a new pair of shoes," Pittenger said.