Monday, July 15, 2013

Sneaker Drive Aims to Cover Many Student "Piggies"

By Christina Georgiou

Going back to school may be the furthest thing from most Easton kids' minds right now, but several local organizations are hard at work making sure that when the school bell rings for that first day, area students have the basic necessities.

The "Let's Help Cover those Piggies!" drive is collecting new and like-new sneakers and shoes for the third year in a row, to ensure students have well-fitting footwear for the coming school year.

The initiative, coordinated by First United Church of Christ in cooperation with the Easton  Weed and Seed program, Easton Area School District's "Family Connection", Third Street Alliance, and other local churches and agencies, will provide sneakers to a couple hundred local students who might otherwise not be able to afford them, said First UCC's community outreach coordinator Margaret Parisi.

Those who will receive the sneakers don't necessarily rely on government benefits, she noted, though certainly many are recipients.

"We're really trying to reach the families not just in the social service programs, but also the folks in between," she said.

While the recession is officially over, there are still many in the Easton area who struggle to pay the bills, she said, and the need for the free footwear program has grown since it started.

"There are a growing number of piggies to cover," Parisi said.

While sneakers and shoes are being collected through a number of Easton houses of worship, local residents and businesses are more than welcome to contribute to the effort. The only stipulation is that donated footwear be in very good or new condition. All sizes are needed, from tiny preschool and toddler sizes all the way up to hard-to-find men's size 14.

"The goal is to get school-age children to have nice sneakers," Parisi said. "We make sure we have at least one pair in every size for everyone who is registered (to receive a pair of sneakers)."

Extra sneakers and shoes will go to students' family members, as they're needed, she said.

The church hopes that local businesses will get involved in the effort too, perhaps by local shops collecting gently used sneakers and shoes from customers and maybe offering an incentive like a small discount or free item for those who contribute, Parisi said.

"If people want to ask their job or their employees if they want to collect shoes, that would be great," she said, adding that churches and other houses of worship not yet involved in the footwear drive are also welcome to contribute.

Whether through a business or from private citizens, donations will be accepted through Monday, August 5.

To arrange to drop off a donation or for more information on how you can help, contact Margaret Parisi at 610-258-3361 or via  email at

The church specifically asks that donors not leave sneakers and shoes by the door when the church is closed.

"That's our sexton's nightmare," Parisi said.

Donated sneakers and shoes are set be distributed to registered recipients on Saturday, August 17, a little more than a week before the school year starts again.

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