Thanks to the generosity of the Irvington Middle School community, members of the Spanish Club have donated more than 1,119 pairs of shoes to Soles4Souls, a charity that distributes new and used shoes to people in need.
Club members said they were inspired after watching a video in their Spanish classes about the lengthy and often dangerous routes that children around the world take to school.
“There are extreme ways – walking over glaciers or up mountains for six hours – and we noticed a lot of people didn’t have shoes,” eighth-grader Emmaline Lebuhn said. “We chose shoes because it was different from things we’ve done. The shoes are shipped out all over the world to people who need them, so it’s helping people globally.”
Students said they were surprised to have surpassed their original goal of 250 pairs of shoes and more than quadrupled it in just two short weeks.
“I hope we can make a difference, giving a lot of shoes to those in need who have to walk to school with no shoes or do job interviews without shoes,” eighth-grader Hanna Reish said. “They have to walk barefoot across sand, snow, stone. Just walking across the pavement without shoes hurts your feet. I can’t imagine what pain they go through.”
Allyson Tempest, a Spanish teacher and club adviser, said she was grateful to the students, teachers, and staff members who donated the shoes.
“The students were motivated because they could connect this shoe drive to our curriculum,” Tempest said. “During our community unit, they learned how to ask and give directions in Spanish. They also watched a video about different journeys and routes
children around the world have to take just to get an education, which they now understand is a privilege.”