School nurses are known for tending to children's illnesses, but to the shock of Debbie Clubb and Anne Erbschloe, many nurses in Callaway schools have been struggling to tend to children's feet.
Erbschloe, who volunteers with the Soup Kitchen and Callaway Christian Church, learned that some school nurses and staff members in Callaway schools were struggling to provide upwards of 60 shoes a year to students in need when she contacted schools such as South Callaway about donations to her church and SERVE Inc.'s back to school fair.
"I found out a lot of kids will come back to school after summer with shoes held together by duct tape and a prayer," said Erbschloe. "They are literally falling apart. Some kids come in flip flops because they don't even have tennis shoes, so they can't participate in P.E. without them. Schools have no funding and teachers are scrambling around to get shoes for kids at garage sales."
It was then that Erbschloe and Clubb decided to form Shoe Pantry, a nonprofit organization that collects used shoes or monetary donations to purchase shoes for Callaway's children in need.
Shoe Pantry collects new or used shoes, which are cleaned and sanitized before being given to kids across the county. If a school nurse, counselor or staff member finds a student in need, he or she may contact Shoe Pantry, which will provide the shoes or buy them with donated funds.
"We need money to be able to buy shoes on hand, and we need an assortment of sizes," said Clubb. "They could be a little kid 1 or adult 13, we really need just a huge amount of shoes. The nurse down at South Callaway was telling me she was out of shoes when a kid needed a pair, so she had to duct tape his shoe shut to get it through the last few days. To me that's horrifying; my kids are blessed not to have to do that but, I don't want a kid to wear duct taped shoes."