By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Westborough – Although they are still young, Westborough High School students Kyle Vaccaro, 16, and Johnny Kelley, 14, know the cost of participating in youth sports can be prohibitive. That is why the two boys are now holding a used kids” footwear drive to help assist local families.
The two are asking the public from now until Sept. 21 to consider donating gently used sneakers, shoes, and cleats that would be appropriate for ages pre-school through high school. Anyone interested may drop off their donations in collection boxes in the Roche Bros. store located at the Bay State Common and at the Walmart store, 200 Otis St., (Route 9) on the Northborough/Westborough line.
It was actually Kyle's brother, Sean, who is now a freshman at Emerson College, who first came up with the idea of a sports shoe collection last year. The boys were at a soccer store in Acton, Kyle said, and saw a sign asking for used cleats and other types of sports shoes.
“We thought that was a great idea because we knew how expensive it can be to be in a sport, especially with shoes and other fees,” Kyle said.
So with Sean leading the project and Kyle as his assistant, the boys decided to organize a drive in Westborough. They collected approximately 100 pairs of sports shoes, which were then displayed at the Forbes Municipal Building. Families were able to come in and select shoes.
“It was totally anonymous,” Kyle said. “We didn's want anyone to feel uncomfortable so we weren's even there.”
The decision was made this year to expand the program to include all types of shoes.
“There was high demand for running shoes last year because those are ones you can wear all the time,” Kyle explained. “And kids outgrow shoes a lot.”
The plan, the boys said, is for Johnny to take over the drive in two years and then have his younger brother Patrick, who is now in sixth grade, continue when he reaches high school.
“I really wanted to be able to help make a difference,” Johnny added, “and help kids in need.”
Shoes that were not claimed last year were packaged up and donated to organizations that help third world countries, Kyle said.
“But this year we hope we can help other local communities and donate them to places in Framingham or Worcester,” he added.
Distribution of the footwear this year will take place at the St. Luke's Parish Hall, 1 Ruggles St. the morning of Saturday, Sept. 28. Once again, recipients will be able to choose their selections in an anonymous manner. For more details, email [email protected].