SCOTT COUNTY, Va. - Buying shoes can be an obsession for some, but for others the necessity of a single pair of shoes is a blessing, especially for unfortunate kids.
For the past 23 years a service club in Scott County, Virginia has bought more than 10,000 pairs of shoes to give those children. It all started with left over money from a scholarship fund.
Banners are going up along Scott County's major highways, and they're not political signs but a request for help -- help for the Scott County Rotary Club's annual shoe fund.
It began when the club was first chartered and money was left from their first scholarship fund. "We had about $300 left and we said what can we do? We started asking around to some of the schools and they talked about kids needing shoes and clothing. The first year we were only able to buy 27 pairs [of shoes]," long-time club member James Addington said.
After adding it all up the club has now purchased and given away 11,575 pairs of shoes plus socks to go with them. That's on top of providing 257 backpacks filled with shoes and clothing for the beginning of school.
"We have a back-to-school program. It starts when school starts back. We usually try to get it to the schools by first of August so the kids can pick it up on the first day of school," 2012 chairman Chris Kimbler said.
All of those shoes and clothes for both funds are from donations from the club and the community.
The school systems identifies those kids in need. "We try to pick out and do who really, really needs [help] and we leave that up to them. We go on what they give us and what they report to us," Kimbler says.
And it's obvious that the simple need of a pair of shoes is getting harder for some families to provide. "It seems like it gets tougher every year. Of course with the economy and everything we know that a lot of kids depend on it they get it every year," Kimbler added.
And so the signs are up for this year's event with $16,000-plus to be raised. Delivery is the first week in December.
If you would like to make a donation, you can send it to:
Children's Shoe Fund
c/o Rotary Club of Scott County
P.O. Box 728
Gate City, Virginia