Making a Difference, One Pair at a Time

1 decade 2 years 10 months ago Thursday, August 02 2007 Aug 2, 2007 Thursday, August 02, 2007 2:20:12 PM CDT August 02, 2007 in News

A group of recent and soon-to-be Rock Bridge High School graduates are trying to change the world one step at a time.

The sound of flip-flops is synonymous with summer, but it's something most people probably never really stop to consider. Some teens, however, appreciate that sound.

After Sarah Ginsburg, Lauren Towns and Liana Presser returned from a recent educational tour through Africa, the footwear took on a new meaning. 

"What moved me the most was I would see one kid and there would be nothing around," Towns said. "I would just wonder, 'Where are they headed? Where are they headed to?' There was nothing around, and they would be walking with no shoes on. "

"I think we realized that having the opportunity to go on this trip gave us the responsibility to do something about what we saw," Presser said.

"Seeing all these people I just thought about all these shoes I have in my closet that I've never worn before," Ginsburg said. "So the night before my birthday, I typed up a letter asking instead of presents, give me shoes and from there, it's gotten really huge."

Friends and family flooded Ginsburg's home with so many shoes, the "shoe crew" set up shop in a storage unit.

"I've had a lot of people say, 'thanks for letting me do something,'" Ginsburg said.

They started collecting donations of clogs and cash, door to door. The Personal Energy Transportation (PET) project in Columbia will use a lot of this footwear as packing material for its hand-cranked carts. In Vietnam, what's inside the boxes is just as anticipated as the PETs themselves.

"We were all privileged to go on this trip, and we come back to this privileged lifestyle, and it's our responsibility to help those who don't have as much as us," Presser said.

People can't tie shoes with one hand, nor can they collect hundreds of them without help. These women are going door-to-door asking for donations, hoping their story will click with you. At last count, the girls had collected nearly 2,000 shoes.

To help, call Sarah Ginsburg at 573-446-4842.

You can drop off shoes or monetary donations to defray shipping costs at any First National Bank or Clover's locations in Columbia.  Please make checks out to "Birthday Shoes".  You may also mail the check to: Sarah Ginsburg, 3605 Holly Hills Court, Columbia, MO  65203

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