Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 5, 2010

Brownies collect hundreds of pairs of shoes for Haiti

Items donated to Sport Chalet's Soles4Souls program

by Janet Pelletier

Last Friday, Mary Soble, Stephanie Skinner and the Brownie troop they help lead along with other moms were having trouble figuring out how to get several dozen pairs of shoes to fit in the car. They knew Pleasanton residents were generous, but this was beyond imaginable.

The troop, made up of 8- and 9-year-olds from Valley View Elementary School, saw and heard about the devastation in Haiti and wanted to help any way they could. After discovering the Pleasanton Sport Chalet on Rosewood Drive was collecting shoes for its campaign Soles4Souls to be donated to the Third World country, the troop decided it would reach out to the community for gently worn sneakers, boots and sandals of every size, shape and color.

"We're trying to teach our girls, they're only third-graders, how important it is to help others and this is going to go toward their bronze award," Soble said. "The girls made flyers and they've passed them out in classrooms and made speeches. The response has been overwhelming. One lady dropped four bags of shoes in the hallway."

Soble is a flight attendant for American Airlines and was recently flying on red eyes to Miami.

"On my last flight, I had six rescuers heading over to Haiti and the more supplies, shoes, medical supplies -- anything -- is going to help them. We have to help our neighbors and to use 'neighbors' loosely."

As the Brownies reached out to third through fifth grade classes at Valley View, another mom, Michelle Alabanese, led the effort for kindergarten through second grade.

"It made me sad," Brownie Zoe Morgenroth said when asked what she thought about the devastation in Haiti. "Some of our world is getting destroyed."

"We can just buy shoes at the store every day, but they have to wait for them," added Sophia Bueche.

The troop also includes: Isabella Huyler, Devyn Baldus, Kira Broacha, Isabella Clark, Natalie Custer, Jasmine Erickson, Emily Smith, Katie Murphy, Kylie Racer, Savana Sadler, Grace Skinner and Delaney Soble.

The Brownies weren't the only ones aiding in Haiti relief. The Pleasanton Rotary Club's drive for mobility devices for Haiti got off to a positive start last week, according to club members, who collected 857 mobility devices including 283 walkers and 77 wheelchairs.

The club has partnered with MedShare International, which will ship the devices from its San Leandro warehouse. Rotary President Steve Brozosky estimated the value of the collected items at more than $50,000.

The club will continue its collection. Devices can be brought to Realtor Tom Fox at his Hometown GMAC office, 4725 First St. in Pleasanton. For pick-up, call Fox at 872-1275 or email rotarysteve@brozosky.com.

Vintage Hills Elementary School is also getting involved with a collection event from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, while Amador Valley High School students and faculty participated in a Run for Relief on the track to raise money to be donated to Haiti.

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