Students in Toni Ann Pelo’s first-grade class at Barnum Woods Elementary School, in East Meadow, collected 355 pairs of shoes for charity during the school’s annual shoe drive.
In honor of Earth Day, students spend one week bringing in old or new pairs of shoes that are sent to Manhattan-based organization Wearable Collections, which recycles, repurposes and donates used shoes and clothes to keep them out of landfills.
The school collected a total of 2,267 shoes with Pelo’s collecting the most. They were awarded with a brunch on June 5, where Assistant Harriet Alfano, Superintendent Kenneth Card and Town of Hempstead Clerk Sylvia Cabana congratulated them for their efforts.
“Not only have you done something good for the environment, but you’ve also done something good for the community,” Cabana said to the class, before explaining to them that there recycled shoes would stay out of landfills and could go to someone who may not have the money to afford their own shoes. “I’m very proud of what you’ve done at such a young age,” she said.
Superintendent Kenneth Card added, “Next year, give me a call. I’ve got a lot of shoes I could give you.”
This is the fourth year the school has held the event, hosted by its Planning Management Team, which thanked Head Custodian Onix Ruiz and his staff for help with the heavy lifting.
The goal of the program is to teach students to understand what they no longer need and learn how items like a weathered pair of shoes could be recycled and used to help others.
"I love how the entire Barnum Woods community comes together year after year for this terrific event,” said Todd Weinstein, a PMT member and the event’s organizer. “The children learn about recycling and repurposing and how easy it is to think of our planet with this teachable moment.”