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Students collect shoes for less fortunate

Students collect shoes for less fortunate

Holiday service project connects with Holocaust studies

December 16th, 2017 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News
Mark Wilson/News Tribune Helias High School sophomores Marcy Wicks, Katherine Schrimpf and Tevin Goose sort through more than 1,000 pairs of donated shoes Friday in a project for their English class where students learned about the Holocaust.

Mark Wilson/News Tribune Helias High School sophomores Marcy Wicks,...

Photo by Mark Wilson /News Tribune.

In four days, students in one Helias High School class collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes to help those less fortunate.

For the past four years, teacher Sarah Kempker has had students in her sophomore English class spend a month studying the Holocaust.

"We talk a lot about how big a number 6 million is," Kempker said, referring to the number of Jewish people who were killed by Nazis in concentration camps during World War II. "A lot of the museums on the Holocaust have piles of shoes to try and show how big a tragedy this was."

The shoes will be picked up by representatives of the Shoeman Water Projects, based in Overland. The nonprofit takes unwanted shoes and gives them to people in need, keeping the shoes from being thrown into landfills.

"Once a number gets so big it's hard for us to wrap our minds around it," Kempker said. "This helps the students comprehend what 6 million of something would look like. Even if we had filled our entire classroom, it wouldn't come close to 6 million."

Kempker added the holiday season is a good time for students to participate in a community service project.

"We don't want to ever forget, but we also know we can't go back and change the past", she said. "We can, though, show them how we can help others."

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