Editor's note: This story was published by Bellefonte Area School District in early December. As of the New Year, Joey has raised more than $1,100 and purchased more than 60 shoes -- and counting, according to his father Adam Gearhart, who is also a teacher in the district. Joey plans to distribute more shoes to other schools within the district and make it a long term project to help his peers in need. On Jan. 8, he made a delivery to Benner Elementary School and on Jan. 9, he delivered more shoes to Bellefonte Elementary School. Joey also hopes to help other nearby school districts with continued support from the community.
Marion-Walker student collects shoes for school
For Joey Gearhart, the season of giving goes beyond the holidays. It just so happens, however, that he started a shoe collection drive just before Thanksgiving to donate to the nurse’s office at Marion-Walker Elementary School that could benefit other students in the building.
Joey, a fifth-grade student in Chris Cipro’s class, said he came up with the idea in the fall after he heard someone made a $100 donation to Pleasant Gap Elementary School where his father, Adam Gearhart, teaches fifth grade. With that donation, the Gearharts purchased 10 pair of sneakers at Dicks Sporting Goods to donate to Pleasant Gap.
“I realized on that day that I should do that for my school for kids who need them,” Joey said. “Then people started donating money and stuff, and we’re going to buy shoes for kids who need them at my school.”
So far, more than $200 was raised. Joey is also collecting shoe donations of new or gently-used sneakers. Shoe sizes range from a youth 13 to men’s size 9 to accommodate the different foot sizes of kindergarten to fifth-grade students. Socks might also be purchased.
“It feels really good to give back,” Joey said. “There are kids in the world that don’t get stuff, but they deserve it.”
His idea isn’t stopping there, though. The Gearharts said Joey has hopes to collect shoe donations throughout the school year for other schools at Bellefonte Area School District.
*To donate, contact Adam Gearhart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD
To read more about Joey's efforts and see news reports, visit these links: