Central senior goes barefoot to raise awareness, collect shoes

POLLOK, TX (KTRE) - One East Texas high school student gave up her shoes in order to help those in need.

Emily Avriett a senior at Central High School, spent the entire week barefoot to raise awareness for people without shoes and to gain donations to send to South Africa.

Where are your shoes? Don't your feet hurt? Are they cold?

These are all just a few of the questions Central High School senior Emily Avriett has had to answer this week.

"People were giving me crazy stares and asking me questions and it was really hard with all the criticism," Avriett said.

This week Avriett committed to an entire week without shoes and has been walking around barefoot, to raise awareness for those without shoes and gain donations for those in need.

"It was extremely challenging I didn't expect it to be this hard, there were days when I wanted to quit," Avriett said.

But her heart for giving and support of family and friends kept her going.

Donation boxes filled with sneakers, flip flops, and flats, sit in the halls of Central ISD's elementary, junior high and high school.

Associate principal Sandy Flowers said the giving has had a ripple effect throughout the district.

"It was funny but it was also very encouraging, several students that donated also joined and they are barefooted today as well," Flowers said.

On Friday, her shirt had the words "Jesus loves me" in Zulu. In June, Avriett will travel to South Africa for two weeks.

She said a book called "10 Days Without" inspired her to do her part in meeting a great need before even stepping foot outside the country.

"The pastor in Africa that we are going through has a big heart for shoes. He actually didn't have his first pair of shoes until he was in 8th grade," said Avriett.

Avriett said this week has been eye opening and has made her grateful for things many often take for granted.

"I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to go home and soak my feet every night because they hurt and those kids don't get to do that," said Avriett.

This weekend, she will pack up all the donations she's received and ship them over Spring Break.

So far Avriett has collected 330 pairs of shoes. To find out how to donate, contact Clawson Assembly of God at (936) 853-2727.

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