Shoe drive: School collection for a cause

SAN BENITO — Have shoes you need to get rid of?

The Veterans Memorial Academy is hosting a shoe drive until Nov. 3 to benefit Communities in Schools and the San Benito Food Pantry.

According to Olga Reyes, the reading teacher at Veterans Memorial Academy, the idea for the shoe drive came after her class read “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes, a story about a woman helping a young boy after an unlikely encounter.

“The students reflected on this and wanted to do something for the community,” Reyes said. “They concluded, why wait for a tragedy or a hardship to do something.”

Reyes said the students had already done something to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey and the earthquake victims in Mexico, but they wanted to direct their help closer to home.

“They felt they should do something for our closest neighbor, our San Benito people,” Reyes said.

Reyes said once the class came up with the idea, she contacted the Communities in Schools and San Benito Food Pantry and both were eager to receive the donations.

The last time the school hosted a shoe drive was in 2008 when they collected more than 400 pairs.

So far, students have collected more than 100 pairs of shoes since they began earlier in the month.

With two weeks left in the shoe drive, Reyes said they are hoping for that number to increase.

“We are hopeful donations keep coming in,” Reyes said.

One of the biggest donors at the Academy has been campus Principal Gilbert Galvan, who donated 20 pairs in the first week.

Reyes said they’ve had numerous donors who have donated large numbers of shoes, including the staff at Wells Fargo in Harlingen who dropped off 34 pairs of shoes.