Songs for soles: Benefit concert at D&M for gently used shoes

By CHLOE RAMBERG, staff reporter

One of the first things most kids learn when they are young is how to tie their shoes. For children in Cameroon, Africa, they simply want to be able to call a pair of shoes their own.

The Center for Leadership and Community Engagement has partnered with the pre-med club at Central Washington University to create Kicks for Cameroon, an event to send gently used shoes and clothing to Cameroon in order to provide children with their very own shoes.

“Many children and adults are in desperate need of shoes and clothing, some things that most of us have a closet full of,” said Cierra Miller, president of the pre-med club. “Why not donate those shoes and clothes that you never wear instead of letting them sit in your closet?”

A benefit concert is being held on Thursday, May 16 at the downtown Ellensburg D&M. People are being asked to bring shoes, clothing and monetary donations to help with the shipping costs to Africa.

The event will be held outdoors and will consist of volunteer student performers. Performances will include singing, guitar playing, a full band and a comedic act. Participants will be able to order coffee and food from D&M.

“This is a chance to enjoy some entertainment and help the greater good,” said Shannon Lowry, CLCE program coordinator.

Many individuals take for granted the amenities they have in their everyday life. Events such as Kicks for Cameroon provide the opportunity for students and community members to give back to individuals who are less fortunate.

“It’s a way to make a small difference in the world,” Lowry said. “Because it really does matter and can make an impact.”

It is a common occurrence in African villages that shoes and clothing are passed down to younger individuals, already greatly worn out. Smaller children frequently grow out of items, and families don’t have the means to provide a new wardrobe, or even a single pair of shoes.

People are being urged to check their closets for shoes and clothing they no longer use. Goodwill also offers great deals on these items that would be beneficial in changing lives. A small donation could make a make all the difference in the world to a child struggling for shoes and clothing.

“I think it’s a great cause and everyone can sacrifice a little something in order to help someone else,” said Ashley Stevens, senior environmental science.

The organizers of the event hope to raise enough clothing and funds to make a dramatic difference in the lives of people they don’t even know.

“I hope that people will walk away from the event knowing that they have truly contributed to a great cause,” Miller said. “I also want people to realize how lucky most of us are to be able to have the things we do and that it’s important to give back to those who need our help.”