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H.E.A.R.T. to donate shoes

ALBANY -- A local non-profit will be donating more than 100 pairs of shoes to Turner Elementary students.

Gloria Garner, Public Relations Representative for H.E.A.R.T (Hands Extended Across Reaching Together), said the organization recognized the need in the community for school children to have shoes.

"There is so many people in need here," she said. "Most of the students have their uniforms, but do not have a comfortable pair of shoes to go with them."

Garner said those with the 30-year-old organization were looking to start an initiative to assist low-income and underprivileged families in the community and started the "Shoes From The Heart" program as a way to give back.

"This will be an annual event and we will build upon it each year," she said.

Garner said the Dougherty County School System assisted H.E.A.R.T. with locating the schools who had the most need.

"They were really happy to do it," she said. "Turner was chosen based on the statistics the school system gave us."

Garner said funds raised by the organization's Nov. 14 yard sale went to purchasing shoes from Nike, which also donated many pairs of shoes to the organization's effort.

"I think the total number of shoes we are donating is 115," she said. "Nike was wonderful about working with us and a couple of weeks ago we drove to Atlanta and picked up the shoes."

Garner said Turner Elementary provided H.E.A.R.T. with specific shoe sizes for the students so every pair is sure to fit.

Gail Solomon, principal of Turner Elementary, said she believes the donated shoes will have a great impact on the students and the school.

"We welcome the program," said Solomon in a phone interview. "It will take care of their (the student's) most basic needs."

H.E.A.R.T. will officially donate the 115 pairs of shoes to Turner Elementary on Thursday.

H.E.A.R.T. is a non-profit organization that consists of current and former employees of P&G in Albany.