Westborough brothers collect sports shoes for needy neighbors
By Doris Christelis, Contributing Writer
Westborough – One step into a sporting goods store these days is evidence that our culture thrives on many sports – from football to lacrosse, soccer to tennis. Each sport comes with its own rules, and even its own shoes. Those cleats or sneakers can run upwards of $100 a pair. Even worse, with kids’ shoe sizes changing rapidly as they grow, the cost of purchasing new shoes can be prohibitive for many families.
Brothers Sean and Kyle Vaccaro had a solution. These Westborough High School (WHS) students developed a “cleat drive,” where families can donate used athletic footwear such as cleats in good condition that are then given out to other residents in town who cannot afford a new pair.
“The idea came to us when we went to a soccer store in Acton to buy new cleats,” explained Sean, a rising senior. “They were sponsoring a cleat drive there and we had some used pairs of cleats that we were going to get rid of, so we donated them instead. We realized there might be a similar need in Westborough.”
The brothers, who both play soccer as well as musical instruments at the school, had seen for themselves that sometimes classmates could not join a school sport because they could not buy the cleats they needed to play. The cost of the gear and the shoes was just too expensive.
Sean and Kyle, who have never done anything like this before, were inspired to start the athletic shoe drive to help bridge the gap between those who had shoes they no longer needed and those who needed shoes.
“We were aware that Westborough Youth and Family Services [WYFS] provides assistance to some families in town on a regular basis, so we thought they would be able to help us distribute the cleats we collected to those in need,” said Kyle, a WHS sophomore.
The brothers reported that the response so far has been fantastic.
“We have not counted the donations to date, but bags upon bags, full of footwear, have been dropped off in the donation boxes, which are almost always packed when we periodically go to collect the donations and bring them to WYFS,” Sean said.
Donations for all different cleats and basketball sneakers in good condition continue to be accepted on an ongoing basis. There is a drop-off box at Roche Brothers on Union Street in Westborough, as well as at the Westborough Recreation Department located at the Town Hall on West Main Street. Shoes are distributed by WYFS at the beginning of each sports season. The next distribution will be in early August.
Contact WYFS at 508-366-3090 if you are interested in receiving a pair of the donated shoes.
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