By Danielle Coots
For the News-Current
BEAVERCREEK — Jacob Gerritsen is attempting to collect $5,000 to buy 500 pairs of socks and shoes for students in need in order to receive his Eagle Scout badge.
A Beavercreek High School freshman and member of Troop 870, he realized a need during the first week of school when looking around and noticing a large number of students that did not have new shoes for the start of the year.
“I wasn’t surprised that he chose this as his project. He loves nice shoes,” his mother Amber Gerritsen said. “It took him over a year to find something that he’s passionate about.”
Gerritsen teamed up with Shoes 4 the Shoeless after doing an internet search. They are a non-profit organization in Dayton that provides shoes to children in need. They are helping Gerritsen obtain the needed shoes at a very reasonable price. Shoes 4 the Shoeless has a working relationships with a few local retailers allowing them to purchase brand new shoes for approximately $10 a pair.
After the idea came to fruition, he immediately contacted he Boy Scouts and completed the application needed for his Eagle Scout project to be approved.
“I started collecting donations a couple of weeks ago,” Gerritsen said. “Now, I’m just trying to spread the word.”
In his attempt to collect as much money as he can, he set up a booth at The Greene for two days. With the help of his friends, he was able to get his donations off with a bang. He was able to collect just about 50 percent of the needed funds. In addition to his efforts at The Greene and with the help of his church and family friends, he’s in good shape to reach his mile marker.
“I also reached out to non-profit organizations to see if they could also donate,” Gerritsen said. “I’ve contacted the Rotary Club, VFW, Chamber of Commerce and the Beavercreek Lion’s Club. I’m waiting to hear back from them soon to see if they we’ll help.”
The needed socks are separate from the money donations for the shoes. Boxes have been placed in Beavercreek schools for students to drop-off socks during the school day. Should you be interested in dropping off socks for donations, visit one of the local Beavercreek school, except for Fairbrook Elementary School. Fairbrook Elementary already helped the efforts of Shoes 4 the Shoeless this year.
Gerritsen’s goal is Nov. 23. The new deadline date will allow Gerritsen enough time to provide the donated funds to Shoes 4 the Shoeless so they can purchase the shoes and Gerritsen can purchase the accompanying socks. The school board is helping Gerritsen information as far as names of the potential recipients and needed sizes. Gerritsen hopes to deliver the shoes and socks to the students around the first of December.
Any leftover shoes and socks from this drive will be donated to Shoes 4 the Shoeless to be passed in other communities. Currently, Shoes 4 the Shoeless are operating on a waiting list for their services. So, additional donations are always appreciated and accepted.
“I just want people to be able to have what they need instead of wanting things they can’t afford. I want to help other people in a positive way,” Gerritsen said. “I plan on continuing my efforts next year or start helping Shoes 4 the Shoeless with their efforts.”
Each $10 donation will buy a pair of shoes for a child in need. For donation information, follow Jacob Gerritsen’s quest on Facebook.
Danielle Coots is a freelance writer for Greene County News.