Dublin Villager

Soles4Souls donation

Scouts hoping to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes

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Two Dublin Scioto High School freshmen are hoping to inspire some spring cleaning this fall.

Alara Ruggiero and Anneliese Whited are working to collect 1,000 pairs of new or gently used shoes that will be donated to Soles4Souls for their Girl Scout Silver Award project.

The duo has been in Girl Scouts since the second grade and wanted to do something to educate people about poverty and help others.

Ruggiero found out about Soles4Souls last year while doing a research project about world poverty.

"It's good to say you got to help the community," Whited said.

"You can see what's happening in the world. I didn't know there were kids around the world that didn't have shoes."

Soles4Souls works to distribute shoes to people in need and create jobs through micro-enterprises in disadvantaged countries that sell shoes.

"One hundred seemed too small," Ruggiero said of the decision to collect 1,000 pairs of shoes.

"Five hundred would be good, but more is always good."

Ruggiero and Whited have been working on the project for about four months and need 50 hours of community service to achieve the Girl Scout Silver Award.

The collection to create 1,000 pairs of new or gently used shoes runs through Sept. 19 and is being done with collection boxes at 11 Dublin elementary schools and local Cooper State Bank branches.

"I started the project in school, so it helped when we asked the district," Ruggiero said.

"We asked the elementary schools and they said, 'Yes, of course,' " Whited said.

The collection is about halfway to its goal, but the Girl Scouts are also hoping to raise $1,000 to $2,000 to ship the shoes to Soles4Souls.

It'll take about $1 to send each pound of shoes collected and any money donated in excess will go toward new shoes to donate to Soles4Souls.

"It doesn't matter what type of shoe you give," Whited said, adding that they'll take new or gently used heels, athletic shoes, cleats and more.

Once their Silver Award project is complete, Ruggiero and Whited may take the task further and try to collect 50,000 pairs of shoes; that many gets the girls a trip to Haiti to see the shoes donated.

Even though Ruggiero and Whited spend a lot of time thinking about shoes right now, their lives are busy.

Whited runs track and cross country. She also enjoys the adventures Girl Scouts take her on; a trip to New York may even be in her future.

"I like to read and I like to camp and canoe," she said.

Ruggiero spends her time played softball and basketball, along with Girl Scout activities that take her camping, tubing at White River Mountain and roller skating.

"We do monthly reward things that each girl plans," she said.

For more information about the shoe collection or to donate for the effort, drop off shoes at a collection box at a Dublin elementary school, Cooper State Bank or go online to gofundme.com/silveraward2014.

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