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Kittanning Salvation Army puts boots on the ground to help needy

LTShoeTree
Brad Pedersen | Trib Total Media
Salvation Army Teen Time members (from left) Alex Mortimer and Andrew Fornell helped decorate the organization's first shoe tree at Famous Footwear in East Franklin on Friday. The organization wants to collect 150 new pairs of shoes for children at Christmas.

Members of the Kittanning Salvation Army’s Teen Time group hopes to find about 150 pairs of shoes underneath their Christmas tree at Famous Footwear in East Franklin.

About a dozen teens from Kittanning on Friday covered a small tree at the store with red and white tags featuring a name, shoe size and gender, in hopes shoppers will buy and donate shoes to place under the tree by Dec. 17.

Salvation Army Lt. Amber Imhoff said children’s shoes are the most common request the organization receives from families during the Christmas season.

“We’ve never had a partnership with a shoe store like Famous Footwear to try to collect shoes, so we’re excited to see how this drive goes,” Imhoff said. “Shoes are an ongoing need for kids. If they have good shoes that fit well, they will function better.”

Imhoff said the Kittanning Salvation Army is the only one in the region working with the store to collect shoe donations. The tags represent children of all ages who are in need of shoes and boots.

Shoppers interested in participating can select a tag, find the shoes and leave them at the store, where a Salvation Army volunteer will collect them.

“Shoes are something that kids will definitely use and are a very practical gift,” Imhoff said. “It’s an easy way to help a local family out with something that is a big need.”

The group plans to give the shoes to families on Dec. 23 during the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas distribution.

Teen Time member Elisa Beri, 17, of Kittanning, said she enjoyed putting up the Christmas tree and is optimistic the group will be able to get enough donations.

“I want to see a lot of these kids get shoes for Christmas,” Beri said. “It’s really important to get them what they need. I’m glad to be part of an organization that might be able to take care of that need.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].

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