Lincoln Junior High holds shoe drive fundraiser to aid developing countries

Sarayu Suresh, Staff Writer

Lincoln Junior High is hosting a shoe drive fundraiser to create economic opportunity in developing countries and raise funds for the Naperville Education Foundation. Anyone can drop off new or gently used shoes inside the main entrance of the school. The event lasts from Jan. 24 to Mar. 23.

Donated shoes will be sold to Funds2Orgs, an organization that collects shoes from shoe drives and redistributes them to small businesses in developing countries. Funds from the donated shoes will be split between NEF and Lincoln Junior High.

“Shoes can really help a community in a time of need not just for comfort but also for health and safety,” said Jennifer Okarma, a learning support Coach at Lincoln and one of the organizers of the drive.

Funds2Orgs helps redistribute wealth and provide a mode of transportation to people living in poverty. Funds2Orgs has supported over 4,000 small businesses.

“We know people who have gone from making $2 a day to making over $60, selling these repurposed shoes to their communities,” said Kristy Fontelera, the Chief Marketing Officer.

Lincoln Junior High will use their portion of the funds to enhance learning in the building. Previous fundraisers have enabled the school to purchase a 3D printer.

“Students are able to design and create different items in class and see them come to life,” Okarma said.

NEF uses their portion of the funds to provide extracurricular funding to District 203 schools. NEF has provided nearly 1,000 grants to “stimulate student engagement and learning experiences,” according to the NEF website. Last year, NEF funded the comparative religion course at Naperville Central.

“I know so many students that are involved in extracurriculars like business incubator that have been funded by NEF,” said Faye Tyschper, the student ambassador for NEF. “They are able to pursue those passions that they wouldn’t have been able to if it wasn’t for NEF.”

Both Lincoln Junior High and NEF are continuing their fundraising efforts. Okarma is planning a staff silent auction for the future.

“The silent auction has always been a really big hit amongst just our staff,” Okarma said. “Our staff really bands together and that’s always really fun.”

NEF looks forward to their annual Building a Passion Breakfast on March 23, 2022 at Embassy Suites. The event will be emceed by ABC7 anchor Alan Krashesky.

“[The Building a Passion Breakfast] is a really great way for us to all get together and celebrate the work that NEF has done because it’s truly amazing,” Tyschper said.