BALLARD COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Ballard County Middle School's sixth grade is in the eye of a perfect shoe-storm.
According to the school, teacher Holly Adams read a brief story about a youngster in Uganda who couldn't go to school there because she had no shoes.
They say Janice Hays, advisor for the Ballard Memorial High School chapter of Future Business Leaders of America, has a son who will be traveling to Uganda on a mission trip in February.
Hays shared another bit of reading she was doing with Adams, a book called "Kisses from Katie," about 22-year-old Katie J. Davis of Brentwood, Tenn., whose high-school Christmas break mission trip to Uganda turned into her life's work.
Adams read selections from the book to her language arts class, including a piece about Davis removing painful parasites from a young girl's feet – parasites the girl contracted because she was shoeless.
Meanwhile, Hays' FBLA group decided to collect shoes to send to Uganda with her son, and placed boxes in all of Ballard's schools. So Adams and her BCMS neighbor, math teacher Cindy White, decided they'd bolster FBLA's efforts.
Adams' classroom is now known as "Shoeville." White will admit to having "Is-shoes" with footwear.
The school says the great shoe bonanza was (and still is) on.
Neither teacher has offered bonus points or rewards for bringing in shoes, but students are bringing them in, by pairs and dozens and bags-full. To date, over 300 pairs of shoes have been collected in the sixth grade alone; the total stands at about 850 pairs from throughout the district, Hays said.
The collection includes shoes of every size, including those for men, women and children. Because of the warm equatorial climate, the club had asked specifically for sandals, flats, athletic shoes, loafers, work shoes and flip-flops. And while new, inexpensive shoes are appreciated, they're also taking good used shoes.
Adams noticed that some of the donations in her room might benefit from a good cleaning. So she talked to Sarah Bohn and Matt Botner in the Life Skills room, and now the used shoes get washed and left to dry there before being taken down to FBLA in the Ballard County Career and Technical Center.
Collections will continue until Dec. 7, and shoes may be dropped off at BMHS, BCMS, BCES or BCCTC from 7:30 a.m.to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or students may bring them to school.