By Corina Curry
ROCKFORD — Students shot their hands in the air when Carol Bingley asked them how many pairs of shoes they had at home. Some answered 20. Some said 10 or 12.
Bingley, the founder of Annie’s Locker, then asked the students to imagine what it would be like to have only one pair of shoes. And what if those shoes weren’t gym shoes and you couldn’t go to gym class?
The students at Holy Family Catholic School grew silent, the magnitude of the $360 they helped raise to buy new gym shoes for children in need unfolded before them. Hundreds of pairs of kids’ running shoes covered the long lunchroom tables in their school’s cafeteria Friday, a pit stop before their delivery to other schools.
Bingley brought the shoes to the school so students could help her tie a card with a special message to each pair. The message is a kid’s version of why Bingley started Annie’s Locker: “When you run, jump and play in these shoes, do it for someone who can’t.”
“Maybe when you’re stringing the ribbons and tying the cards, you can say a little prayer for the children who will be getting these shoes,” she told the students as they dove into the work.
“I think it means something for them to see shoes that are their size,” Bingley said.
Holy Family Principal Trevor Seivert agreed. Students learn from giving, he said, but they learn more if they get to see the results.
“Something like this is very easy for us at a Catholic school to tie into a lesson,” Seivert said. “We teach the corporal works of mercy — to feed the hungry and shelter the homeless. This fits with that very nicely.”
Kids relate to other kids, too, said teacher Rachel Phelps.
“One of my students asked who the shoes were for,” Phelps said. “When I said they were for children in Rockford, they said they thought they might be for kids in Africa. … So I think it’s helping them understand their community, helping them understand there are kids in need right here in Rockford.”
This is the second year for Annie’s Locker’s Share a Pair Shoe Drive. It’s the first year that Bingley has taken the shoes to Holy Family and let students help get them ready for delivery.
The drive, which started in July, raised enough money the past three months to buy 900 pairs of shoes. Shoes will be donated to students at Lewis Lemon, Nelson, King, Beyer and Bloom elementary schools.
Rockford Register Star
Posted Sep. 21, 2014 @ 6:51 pm
Updated Sep 21, 2014 at 6:52 PM