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Girl, 16, helps collect shoes for those in need

Posted April 10

— According to a Soles4Soles spokesman Brian Granfors, 900 million people around the globe live on less than $1.90 per day — 400 million are children. Living on so little, families often are forced to forego adequate shoes and clothing.

Makenna Marchbanks, 16, is working to make an impact on that problem, The Norman Transcript (http://bit.ly/2p6s4mu ) reported.

"Everyone should have a pair of proper shoes that they can wear," Marchbanks said.

Makenna said she got the idea for collecting shoes a couple of years ago when her friend showed up to school with completely worn out shoes.

"I felt like I needed to do something. I knew she was embarrassed," she said.

Soles4Souls is a nonprofit organization based in Tennessee that is committed to fighting global poverty by collecting shoes and clothing. Between 2015 and 2016, Soles4Souls collected and distributed close to 2.4 million pairs of new and gently used shoes, Granfors said.

Marchbanks partnered with Soles4Souls and started a new program, Makenna's Sole Purpose in 2016. She collected more than 1,600 shoes in about years' time.

Makenna has been named as a 2017 state finalist for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, and Jackie, her mother, said she couldn't be more proud.

"It shows that she has a good heart," Jackie said. "She saw the opportunity to help others and she seized it. We only planned on doing it for a month, but people kept bringing us shoes."

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is a youth recognition program based on volunteer community service.

"Our aim is to recognize, reward and encourage students who take the initiative to make a difference in their communities," Prudential spokesman Greg Loder said.

Since its inception in 1995 thanks to Prudential and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), the program has honored more than 115,000 young students for their outstanding service to others at the local, state and national level.

"By awarding and highlighting these stories of outstanding volunteer service, we hope that we can inspire other young people to make a real difference in their communities," Loder said.

In addition, the program is developing a presence outside the United States including in countries such as, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, China and Brazil.

To donate shoes, call (405) 323-8800 or visit Makenna's Sole Purpose Facebook page.

"We're not asking for a whole lot, just for people to clean out their closets," Jackie said.

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