New and used shoes of all kinds — athletic, heels, sandals, boots, wingtips and more — were collected during the first official project of the new Service Club at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Savage in January called “Shoe Away Hunger.”
The goal of 500 pairs was blown away with a total of 1,378 matched pairs being collected with a few stragglers yet to count. All donations were picked up by Good in the Hood, an organization that resells or recycles shoes to fund programs that feed the hungry.
The effort was led by students who are members of the Student Council and the Ambassadors with support from Stephanie Cin, the school’s behavior interventionist, and Peni Renner, president of the Hidden Valley PTO. Parents and staff also assisted with the matching, binding, sorting and counting at Hidden Valley’s first official all-school Service Club meeting held during the school’s winter dance.
Hidden Valley partnered with Unique, a local thrift store that donated shoes to support the school’s effort, after the child of one of its managers came home all excited about the project.
The Service Club is already into its second project, a book drive and exchange that ties into February as “I Love to Read Month.” Students are asked to bring in gently used books and a swap will take place with every student walking away with a book that is new to them, said Cin.
The goal is to gather 700 books so that 600 could exchanged among Hidden Valley students. The remaining 100 could be donated to the Toy Corner in Savage, which provides gently used books and toys to area children who might not otherwise have them.
Student service clubs, like the new one at Hidden Valley, are starting up at all elementary schools in Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191.