NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Central Heights senior who spent the last two summers doing mission work in Central Africa is still making a difference.
Taylor Garner is involving her peers in a shoe collection drive. The effort has taken off running.
Garner is on to something big. She's teaching her peers a pair of shoes is more than a status symbol. Owning shoes is a privilege.
“I was looking at the statistics the other day and more than 300 million in the world who do not have shoes,” said Garner, the chair of Shoe Collection.
In America the average number of shoes owned is 12 pair per person.
“It's something we all have way too much of and it's not a huge sacrifice. I think for us to give the shoes in our closet that we may not use,” Garner said.
Garner's peers agreed after seeing images the charitable teen brought back from her summer mission work in Central Africa.
‘There are so many parasites. They're walking through dirty water,” Garner said. “They're walking through, you know, sewage."
The enlightenment was the beginning of “My Shoes are in Africa” collection drive. Boxes were put out in school offices in preparation for Monday's start up. Something incredible happened.
“In four days, I think we collected probably 200, and then we have two full boxes in here now,”
Garner said. “It's been really overwhelming.”
Similar responses were seen at w the Woden, Douglass, Cushing and Nacogdoches high schools. Plus hundreds of new shoes were donated by a business person.
T shirts are being sold to help pay for shipping. Taylor says her friends came through.
“It's so cliché to say that we have so much and they have so little, but i do think that is true and that's one thing that definitely hit me hard coming home was just that we are very blessed,” Garner said.
The walk in helping others is probably the biggest lesson Garner is sharing.
Next Friday, Central Heights students who bought a “My Shoes are in Africa” T-shirt will be allowed to go barefoot for the day.
Anyone wanting to donate to the cause can do so at Central Heights High School, as well as other schools throughout the county.