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Erica collected shoes for children who were walking barefoot to school.

Shoe Drive Connects Warm Hearts And Bare Feet

MOUNTAIN AREA — For the second year in a row, one local student is busy organizing an effort to put shoes on the feet of those who need them.

Minarets freshman Erika Hafkey is committed to her project, No Más Niños Descalzos, or No More Barefoot Children, which began last year. Erica is the older daughter of Adriana Armenta and Mark Hafkey, and big sister to Eliana. Erica’s mom Adriana is originally from the city of Hermosillo, in the Mexican state of Sonora. Her dad Mark is a flight attendant, with benefits that make regular travel between the foothills of Eastern Madera County and the town of Hermosilla possible.

When Erica was in 8th grade at Raymond-Knowles Elementary, the family was having on ongoing dialogue, comparing parts of the United States with parts of Mexico. Erica was overwhelmed, in some instances, by the poverty in her mother’s country of origin. She saw children going to school barefoot, burning their feet on the hot pavement as they made their way to school. Erica learned that the costs for medical expenses, shelter, clothing, food and other necessities were rising in Mexico, and she sought to do something to help. She decided on shoes.

Erica and her mom put out three collection boxes in Raymond, and asked for the community’s help in recycling gently used footwear. Once again, she was overwhelmed, but this time — in the best way possible. The boxes filled up quickly, and repeatedly. When the family took the dozens on dozens of shoes to her mother’s old neighborhood in Sonora, the overwhelming emotion of the day was love. There was also a lot of laughter, and a wealth of appreciation.

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“I felt like we had so many shoes, but they were gone like that, and not everyone had a pair,” Erika said after the fact. “So when I go there again, maybe I will take some shoes and whoever didn’t get a pair, we could pass them out. When you do things like that you receive more than you give.”

So now, with the help of Minarets Key Club and Mrs. Therese Righter, Erica is doing it again. The shoe drive starts today, Dec. 7 and runs to Dec. 19.

“We’re collecting gently used shoes for children ages birth to thirteen years old,” says Mrs. Righter. “Erika and her family will be taking them to Hermosillo in Sonora, Mexico, over winter break.”

Drop-off locations for this project include Minarets High SchoolRaymond-Knowles Elementary School, and Grocery Outlet in Oakhurst.

On Minarets 2018 Community Day, Key Club members will be sorting, cleaning, prepping, and packaging the shoes collected, so now is a great time to gather your gently used shoes and donate them to a very good cause.

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