By Marianne Scott Rushville Republican
---- — The goal of Changing Foot-prints is simple; no one should go without adequate, protective foot wear.
Changing Footprints realizes the great need for shoes around the world as protection from disease and a gateway to education. It is because of this need Changing Footprints collects new and gently used shoes for distribution to homeless, disaster-stricken, or underprivileged people locally, nationally, and internationally regardless of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity.
Changing Footprints is a nonprofit organization, founded in 2004 and operates warehouses located in Rushville and Indianapolis. Since 2004, their reputation and goal has grown. They work with many social service agencies, schools, church missions, medical relief teams, military personnel, and disaster relief teams, requesting shoes for their missions
Even though Changing Footprints has seen substantial interest and growth in just a short length of time, they never lose sight of their mission. More often than not, they work personally with teams who actually take the shoes and see that they reach those in need.
The fifth-grade class of Mrs. Heidi Clemmons and Mrs. Denise Talbott (Rushville Elementary School West) guided Pre-K to Grade 6 by taking on the mission of the Changing Footprints. Mr. Jack St. Clair (third grade) stepped up the project by challenging his class to collect the most shoes. RESW collected an amazing 1,132 pairs of shoes.
Everyone in the fifth-grade class took on a job from collecting shoes, to making posters and decorating collection boxes. The original goal was to collect 500 pairs of shoes. That goal was quickly met in first few weeks and another goal 1,000 pairs of shoes was established.
All grades participated, and as of Nov. 22, the third grade led the way by collecting 453 pairs of shoes.
“This has been a great experience as students begin to understand there are those that go without shoes every day. This especially weighs on our minds as we see the pictures from the devastation in the Philippines,” cited Kelly Stephens (RESW Home School Liaison).
On Dec. 2 the fifth-grade class helped load the trailer that goes to Changing Footprints. In another week they’ll have the opportunity to tour the Changing Footprints Warehouse and help with whatever needs to be done.
One student summed it up best when they stated “it felt good to do something for someone else, especially someone who might not have shoes to wear.”