The Brainerd High School a cappella aimed to collect 2,500 pairs of used shoes for a fundraiser to help pay for an upcoming trip to Puerto Rico.
The group collected twice that and then some.
BHS teacher and a cappella choir mom Kelly McConkey organized the shoe drive in August through funds2orgs, an organization that sends the used shoes to microentrepreneurs in developing countries. Those who receive the shoes learn about business and entrepreneurship by cleaning up the shoes and getting the opportunity to sell them for a profit to help themselves out of poverty. The two most popular locations for shoes to go right now are Haiti and Cambodia.
The goal was 100 bags of shoes, each bag containing 25 pairs of donated gently used shoes.
But on Monday, Oct. 28, McConkey, along with her daughter, Peyton and other choir students and parents, loaded 244 bags -- more than 6,000 pairs -- of shoes into a funds2org truck.
“I am so excited,” McConkey said Monday, as she looked at all the bags loaded into the truck.
Churches and online garage sale sites were among the biggest helpers, McConkey said, along with a lot of social media campaigns and donation boxes set up throughout the school district.
Senior Noah Barnhart said the group managed to get a lot of donations through putting a call out and messaging people on Facebook.
“The community was a really big help,” he said.
The community helped so much, in fact, that truck driver Chris Harris said this was the biggest load of shoes he had ever picked up when he saw the garage full of bags at McConkey’s house Monday.
The group won’t know how much money its efforts raised for another couple weeks until all the shoes are weighed, as funds2orgs pays $0.40 per pound of shoes. But judging by the sore arms and the tired expressions on the faces of the seven students who helped load the 244 bags into the truck Monday, the a cappella choir should be in good shape for its trip.