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H.E.A.R.T. continues shoe distributions

Photo by Jennifer Parks

Photo by Jennifer Parks

ALBANY, Ga. -- A year ago, H.E.A.R.T (Hands Extended Across Reaching Together) made a donation of 100 pairs of Nike shoes to students of Turner Elementary School.

This year, the organization did even better.

From Tuesday through today, H.E.A.R.T. distributed shoes to students in five Dougherty elementary schools -- 100 children at each school.

"These children are in need," said Barbara Collier, assistant principal at Jackson Heights Elementary School -- one the the effort's beneficiaries. "Many children come to school without proper shoes. This is a godsend.

"To them, to get a new pair of shoes is a great Christmas gift. We really appreciate what they are doing."

The children were selected by the schools sending H.E.A.R.T. a listing of economically disadvantaged children. Permission slips were then sent to the parents, who provided the childrens' shoe sizes.

"It is a passion for us," said Gloria Garner, spokeswoman for H.E.A.R.T. "There are children out there that don't have a good pair of shoes. Some of them are wearing sandals in cold weather. They need to have shoes year-round.

"The smiles and thank-yous are good for us. We want to continue to do what we can."

Volunteers from H.E.A.R.T. drove to Locust Grove on Nov. 21 to pick up the shoes and bring them back to Albany. This year's first distribution took place at Turner on Tuesday, followed by Lincoln Heights and Sylvester Road Elementary School on Wednesday. The distributions will conclude today with Morningside Elementary School and Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

This effort is part of an ongoing project. The donation made to Turner last year was the first distribution the organization made.

"As people have seen results, they have called to see what they can do to help us," Garner said. "We will do this each year.

"Our ultimate goal is to supply the whole school system."

H.E.A.R.T., which has been around for roughly 30 years, is a non-profit the consists of current and former Procter & Gamble employees. The organization is currently in the process of soliciting monetary contributions and volunteers.

H.E.A.R.T. can be contacted at (229) 883-3775, or by mail at P.O. Box 4433, Albany, 31706.