ETCHA gathers over 8,000 pounds worth of shoes for third world countries

Published 9:11 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017

For almost 10 years, a project by the East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy has been able to impact the lives of individuals at home, and abroad.
Since January, ETCHA has hosted their eighth annual shoe drive that takes in gently-used shoes and provides them to individuals in Africa and Haiti.
Ron Marvel, director of development at ETCHA, and students who were part of the program were packing up the last bit of shoes Wednesday evening when it was announced the organization was able to gather more than 8,000 pounds of shoes.
“This has been one of our biggest donation drives ever,” Marvel said.
Over the past eight years, the organization has averaged between 6,000-8,000 pounds of shoes during each drive. The support from the community was greatly appreciated, according to the director.
“We really appreciate the outpouring of support from the community for this project,” Marvel said. “We want the community to know that their contribution is going to generally make a difference in the lives of people in third world countries. A lot of these people will be getting shoes for the first time.”
The experience was also key for the girls part of ETCHA.
“It’s amazing for us here, too, because it gets our students involved in thinking about someone else and working and serving to help the lives of others,” Marvel said.
While individuals overseas will be able to enjoy the pieces of footwear, ETCHA will receive a dollar for every pair of shoes and an additional 20 cents per pound to help with operational costs at the facility.
“This is one of our biggest fundraisers,” Marvel said. “Once we get all the shoes packed up, they will be taken out for delivery, then we’ll start getting the wheels in motion for next year’s drive.”
According to ETCHA’s website, the organization was founded in 1946 after Preacher Fred Smith of First Christian Church in Elizabethton witnessed a local judge placing children in jail because they did not have a family to provide for them.
The facility, located in Elizabethton, has a leadership board in place and has an 18-acre property that children can thrive in.
With the shoe drive now completed, attention is now on another fundraising opportunity opened to the public.
(ETCHA) announced Friday the organization’s 13th annual golf tournament is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 1 p.m. at the Elizabethton Golf Course.
For additional information on the organization, visit or call (423) 542-4423. Marvel added that the public is also invited to tour the facility to see what is offered for children’s part of the program.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox