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Northwestern Middle School students ask community to step up for fundraiser

Seventh graders are hosting a shoe drive Dec. 3 to raise money for field trips.

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Northwestern Middle School seventh graders, from left, Callie Jo Johnson, Bryleigh Symiczek, King Waskow, Adrian Leonard, Claire Ormston and Ava Arseneau stand around a shoe collection box in a school hallway. The class is raising funds for field trips with a shoe drive. Community members are welcome to drop of gently used, worn or new footwear to help them reach their goal from 9-11 a.m. Dec. 3 in the village of Poplar.
Contributed / Northwestern Middle School
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MAPLE — Seventh grade students at Northwestern Middle School are asking community members to search their closets — and their soles — to pick up the pace of class fundraising efforts.

Instead of selling wrapping paper, tea or chocolates, the students are collecting shoes. Every pound they procure brings them one step closer to the finish line. They hope to collect 4,000 pairs of footwear during their “Shoe Us the Love” fundraiser to fund class field trips.

“They want to go bowling and roller skating, so that’s kind of their thing,” said science and English teacher Misty Radig. “It’s just every year we hope to get to take a field trip and this class has not gotten a lot because of COVID.”

The community can help. Students will hold a shoe drive event from 9-11a.m. Dec. 3 along Main Street in the village of Poplar, next to the Richard I. Bong memorial plaque. Anyone can drop off gently used or new shoes during that time. The footwear must be clean and in usable condition; no skates or wheels allowed. Shoes can also be dropped off at the Northwestern Middle School office through Dec. 9.

Radig ran into the unusual fundraiser, offered by funds2orgs, online.

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“We were just trying to find something different that we hadn’t done before, and this seemed like kind of a win-win situation,” she said. “Our families get to clean out their shoe closets, the shoes stay out of the landfill, and then they go at a very affordable price to people in need of affordable footwear.”

Radig said funds2orgs will pay the students by the pound for the shoes, then send them to local stores around the world to be resold to people who need them. The fundraiser offers families an incentive to declutter, as well.

“I’ve donated a bag of my own personal shoes,” Radig said. “It was great to be able to just get rid of them and make that space and then donate to my class.”

The shoe drive has offered a walk through memory lane for some.

“It’s been fun to see my students’ baby shoes. One of them brought in a pair of his baby Crocs, which were the cutest thing ever,” Radig said.

To date, the students have collected 12 bags of shoes since early October. Their goal is 400. Radig said they hope to pick up the pace of donations at the Dec. 3 event. Community members are invited to step up and help them cross the finish line.

This story was updated at 1:17 p.m. Nov. 28 to include the names of the students and an additional drop-off location. It was originally posted at 6 p.m. Nov. 24.

Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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