The Haven is asking area resident to donate new or gently used shoes, which can be dropped shoes off at the First Baptist Church during office hours, Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Alternatively, Tanya can be contacted at 419-668-4144 or [email protected] to make other arrangements.
Already 1,125 pairs of shoes had been collected as of July 22. With a goal of 2,500 pairs, the drive runs through Aug. 10.
“The Haven is a safe place for kids in Norwalk to come,” the fundraiser flyer said. “It hosts an after school program for students as well as other events throughout the year for kids to attend and roller skate, socialize, snack, receive homework help and hear a devotional message.”
“I just really care for the kids and the community and just love that we just have a safe place for the kids to go,” said Tana Stewart, board of deacons member and The Haven volunteer.
“(Here) they have positive interactions and adults who truly care for them. We want to be able to continue to offer those activities for kids in the community. That’s what the funds will go toward.”
She said she feels it’s important to keep the center going.
“I kind of feel like it’s a good place for kids to go and have good interactions with adults,” Stewart said.
“The kids have a lot of fun being with their friends, and we get to talk a little bit about Jesus, tell them that Jesus loves them and they see there’s adults in the community that care for them. We also try to help them learn to make good decisions and to know that the decisions they make now effect their whole life forever.”
Stewart said they hope to get 100 bags of 25 pairs, or 2,500 pairs of shoes.
“We’re about half way there,” she said. “We still need a lot more shoes. We have left weeks left. We’ll be set up at Imagine Norwalk with hot dogs and burgers and things and The Haven will be open, of course, and we’re hoping more people will bring their shoes then.”
The fundraiser will raise funds for the organization. Collected shoes are used to support micro-enterprise vendors, which are small businesses in developing nations. They are typically operated by one person, family and friends, depending on the size.
“So it’ll help people in lower income countries,” Stewart said. “It will provide entrepreneurial opportunities for them to clean up the shoes and resell them. It benefits The Haven and it helps to provide jobs and benefits them as well.”