7-year-old collects shoes for those in need

7-year-old collects shoes for those in need
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Most 7-year-old's probably have some type of present they'd like for their birthday, but not Emmeline Soileau. Instead, she started an organization to help those in need, one shoe at a time.

At age seven, Emmeline Soileau calls herself a shoe girl. But not for the reasons you might think.

On Friday, her dad asked her if she wanted presents for her birthday. This was her response, "I have so many toys in my room and I didn't know what to do so I said maybe I could have some kids bring shoes and we could donate them to the poor people."

It was Emmeline's birthday wish to help those in need by collecting new and gently used shoes with her friends.

But then, her father Latt said, "We decided to bring it a step further. Instead of just being a birthday party gift, let's bring it to the community and get the school involved and bring shoes to the needy in the area."

Thus, an organization was started.

"Emmeline's birthday is on Valentine's Day so we thought we'd integrate the heart symbol into the cause of shoes, so 'Shoes from the Heart' was born," said Latt.

So far they've collected about 50 pairs of shoes but their goal is 100 by February 28.

And both dad and daughter hope to now make this an annual donation.

"Next year we'll try to double that and every year grow it more and more," said Latt.

Emmeline says her teachers and friends thought it was great she was giving back, but she says, "I just thought in religion class that if I could be a light to the world, which is probably a good idea to be, I just thought about it for awhile then I just said, well why don't I?"

"She has a heart of gold. I'm very proud of her and her efforts," said Latt.

For information on the organization: https://www.facebook.com/#!/Shoesfromtheheartofswla

Latt says they'll donate the shoes to local charities such as The Women's Shelter, Potter's House, St. Vincent de Paul Society and The American Red Cross.

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