Some of these children have received shoes thanks to an annual shoe drive that concluded Friday. Ron Marvel, director of development for the East Tennessee Christian Home and Academy, said the home has been conducting the shoe drive for nine years, but the drive has really picked up over the past two years.
“Over the last two years, we have collected over 15,000 pounds of shoes,” Marvel said. “The community has been so generous.”
“Most of the shoes will be going to Africa and Haiti,” Marvel said. “Some will be going to the Mississippi Delta. Picking up a pair of shoes made for a child around 3 years old, Marvel said, “for some of these children, this will be the first pair of shoes they will get to call their own.”
Marvel said the shoe drive did not just collect shoes for children. “We collected shoes for everyone, adults and children. We collected work boots and flip flops, just about any kinds of shoes they could use. About the only shoes we did not collect were high heels.”
Marvel said donations came from all around the Tri-Cities, especially Johnson City and Bristol.
Marvel said the residents of the home helped with the effort, but many volunteers provided a lot of support, including East River Park Christian Church and Indian Springs Christian Church.