Nicholas, his 3-year-old brother, Michael, and their mom, Patsy Meriwether, decided to start a campaign to collect shoes in the community, according to information from Patsy Meriwether.
Working with Soles4Souls, a national relief organization based in Nashville, they set up collection sites at local elementary schools, preschools, the YMCA and other community organizations.
Some children donated their own shoes, and others collected shoes from neighbors and friends. To date, 4,600 pairs of shoes have been collected.
In her release, Meriwether says she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.
“The Chester community is known for its generosity and this effort reaffirmed my faith that people really do care,” she says. “Our goal was to collect 1,500 pairs of shoes, and we tripled that.”
Dee Fisher, director of the Chester United Methodist Church preschool, says in the release that the school was pleased to participate in the effort.
“Children came to school concerned about what they had seen,” she says. “This campaign gave them an opportunity to do something practical to help.”
The biggest challenge now is to collect funds to pay for shipping, Meriwether says.
“We have thousands of pairs of shoes boxed up in my garage and ready to go,” she says. “The sooner we can collect financial donations, the sooner we can get the shoes shipped out and distributed to people in Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities. A small donation can make a large impact.”
Meriwether says UPS has offered the community an 80 percent discount to ship the shoes, which can be delivered for just a quarter a pair. For every $100 donation, 400 pairs of shoes can be shipped to Haiti, the release says.
Participants in the shoe drive included: Chester United Methodist Preschool, Chester Presbyterian Preschool, C.C. Wells Elementary School, Chester Baptist Preschool, Trinity Methodist Church, YMCA of Chester, MOPS Club of Chester, Bermuda Hundred Preschool, C.E. Curtis Elementary, St. Mark’s Preschool and Church, Ecoff Elementary and Ironbridge Baptist Preschool.
To donate, make checks payable to Soles4Souls and send to Patricia Meriwether at 13813 Bluff Ridge Drive, Chesterfield, VA, 23838, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org .