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Hometown Heroes: Teachers collecting shoes for entire student body

Teachers collect shoes for students
Teachers collect shoes for students(KPLC-TV)
Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:39 AM CDT
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Sulphur, LA (KPLC) - Maplewood Elementary teachers Leslie Barlow and Jill Abshire are live on social media, updating their friends on their shoe and sock drive. Through a program started by fans of musician Drake White, the two are making sure each student in their school gets a new pair of shoes this fall.

“Our road to recovery? We won’t get there, we’re not going there overnight,” said Barlow. “But that slow one percent growth, that one percent progress, that we can’t see or is hard to see? It matters.”

“With them losing so much from our two hurricanes, our ice storm and our flood, they’re just trying to make ends meet,” said Abshire. “Just one disaster after another. So for them to not have to worry about having to put shoes on their children, is a huge weight lifted off.”

Donations are coming from all over the world. The teachers hope to collect enough shoes and socks for almost 600 students.

“When they walk in with a new pair of shoes, their confidence, it’s night and day,” said Abshire. “They’re so proud. Whenever they have that burden lifted off them, they can focus more on their schooling.”

“And it stays with them,” said Barlow. “When so much has been taken from them at this point, that smile that we give back to them is something that is impossible to put into words.

If you’d like to help the Firestarters collect shoes and socks for students, go to Maplewood Elementary’s website. Musician Drake White will perform Saturday, July 3, 2021 at “Cowboys Country Fest” in McNeese State University’s Cowboy Stadium. It’s a hurricane relief concert for McNeese students, staff and faculty.

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