DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - High schoolers in DeKalb County are taking a service project global, and they need your help. Students at McNair High School were hoping to collect a few dozen pair of shoes to send to countries in need, but they've now collected thousands of shoes.
All the shoes will be packed up and shipped across the globe to countries in need, including Guatemala, Bolivia, Haiti, and Honduras.
This shoe drive started after several students were inspired by a service trip to Guatemala.
"We would take trash and fill up plastic bottles, and we were building schools, but while we were there we saw this big pile of shoes," said teacher Maronda Hastie.
The shoes were donated and are being distributed to members of the community hoping to get work and trying to better their lives.
"They said people all over the world donate shoes to them for they can have something," said senior Jaylin Simmons.
When the students got back, they wanted to be part of that effort to help lift up developing communities, so the students started collecting shoes.
"Everyone doesn't have what we have, so we want to give something to say, 'We still appreciate you,'" said senior Thomas Rivers III.
Over a couple of months, the students have collected thousands of shoes, but they're hoping to get more.
"It really shocks me but also makes me very ecstatic because you get to see how collective and cooperative the community can be," said junior Raychante Ingram.
The students are asking the community to step up and help them out.
"The shoe represents hope," said Simmons. "There is a better tomorrow. It's like a foot in the right direction."
This hasn't been just a lesson for the students to help others, it's been a lesson in improving themselves.
"I like to be a leader, and I feel like being a leader is to do everything so young because no one said you couldn't be great at a young age," said Rivers.
If you'd like to get involved, the following are places you can drop off any shoes you'd like to donate.
- Boss Cutz, 2038 Stn Mtn Rd., Lithonia
- Kelley Lake Elementary, 2590 Kelley Lake Road, Decatur
- McNair High, 1804 Bouldercrest Road, Atlanta
- Showcase Food Gallery, 3183 Main Street, East Point
- Sudo Bar & Grill, 2270 Salem Road, Lithonia