East Tennessee Christina Home and Academy still looking for shoe donations

The East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy is about to wrap up their annual shoe drive for children in need, and though they have collected many shoes, they said they are still looking for more.

Director Ron Marvel said they have been doing the shoe drive for close to 11 years.

“We gather shoes of all types,” Marvel said. “Dove Ministries will pick them up a few weeks after the drive ends.”

He said ETCHA collects shoes that will go to places like Haiti and countries in Africa, where many children have never owned a pair of shoes in their lives.

“We average around 6,000 to 7,000 shoes a year for the past few years,” he said.

Marvel said the shoe drive is not just a chance to do community service. It is also a chance to interact with other members of the local community.

“It raises awareness for us, and it gets the community directly working with us,” Marvel said. “It gets our students here involved.”

He said engaging the students at ETCHA involved in projects like this directly contributed to the values they teach as an institution.

“It affects their mindset,” he said. “It teaches them to put others before themselves.”

Marvel said the service project is not just about giving to others, however. It is also a way to showcase what ETCHA does for its community beyond what happens inside its walls.

“It is good for the community to see our resources are not just going inwards,” he said.

Already, rows of bleachers in their gymnasium are filled with trash bags full of shoes of all sizes, and donors continue to drive by to give them more.

“We probably have around 70 to 80 bags of shoes right now,” Marvel said.

The project is not limited to ETCHA’s efforts, however. Marvel said many local churches also pitch in, either in the donations themselves or when they process them for Dove Ministries to pick them up.

“It is a win-win for everyone,” he said.

Marvel said the shoe drive ends on Wednesday, May 15. Those interested in donating old shoes of any size can drop them off at 517 Allen Ave.

“Just bring the shoes to our gymnasium,” Marvel said.

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