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Date of Issue: February 03, 2010

Shoes for Haiti collection begins with kids

Anna Maria Elementary, King Middle and the School for Constructive Play will be taking shoes for orphans in Haiti.

The event was conceived by Joselin Presswood, seventh-grader at King, when she learned the plight of orphans in Haiti that have been supported by the local nonprofit Ministry of Presence, founded by a former St. Bernard priest, the Rev. Ron Joseph.

The ministry supports an orphanage in Leogane, where 90 percent of all buildings were demolished in the earthquake. The earthquake flattened the orphanage and its school, and four children died. The remaining 86 children are now living in an adjacent field protected only by sheets and tablecloths.

Their teachers and staff at the facility are homeless as well.

Feb. 12 will be Shoes for Haiti Day on the three campuses. Students are asked to bring a pair of shoes to school, where containers will be filled and collected for delivery to Haiti.

The only direct aid the Leogane orphans have received since the earthquake has been delivered by Joseph and his co-workers, volunteers from the Ministry of Presence. Joseph was in Haiti with his brother Pierre during the earthquake, and the other volunteers are Haitian citizens, some who were raised at the orphanage.

Joselin is the granddaughter of Islander publisher Bonner Joy, who is helping spearhead collections for the Leogane orphanage. She learned few shoes had been donated, and thought maybe kids could help out.

For information on Shoes for Haiti Day, call The Islander at 941-778-7978 or inquire at the school offices.