Girl seeks shoe donations

Published 10:30 pm Thursday, February 6, 2014

Peyton Baines shows off some of the more than 170 pairs of shoes she has collected in an effort to help people who don’t have shoes. She said she wanted to find a way to give back after many people helped her family during her mother’s battle with cancer.

Peyton Baines shows off some of the more than 170 pairs of shoes she has collected in an effort to help people who don’t have shoes. She said she wanted to find a way to give back after many people helped her family during her mother’s battle with cancer.

In some ways, Peyton Baines is like a typical 9-year-old. She names her favorite subject as recess and had a party at a bounce-house place with her friends for her birthday last month.

But she’s not your average kid. She doesn’t like sprinkles on her ice cream, and she told her friends not to get her any gifts for her birthday.

Instead, she asked them to bring new or gently used shoes so she could send them to Africa.

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Peyton, a third-grader at Kilby Shores Elementary School, got the idea from the Disney Channel, which featured a girl who had done the same thing.

“A girl wanted shoes instead of presents to send it to the people who don’t have anything,” Peyton said.

It started with her family and friends at her birthday party but didn’t stop there. Neighbors, church members and random strangers have all donated shoes. She’s collected more than 170 pairs so far and hopes to get 500 pairs by the end of March.

However, practically everybody she knows has exhausted their collections of old shoes by now, so she’s reaching out to the community to donate shoes and the shipping costs to get them into the hands of people who need them.

Peyton also has a personal motive to collect as many shoes as possible. Her mother, Tricia Baines, has battled cancer since 2011, going to far-flung places such as Florida and Germany for treatment. She recently learned the cancer has spread to both lungs.

“My wish is for you to help me collect shoes, not only for the poor people but to put a smile on my mommy’s face,” Peyton wrote in a letter seeking donations.

Peyton said many people had been generous to her family during her mom’s battle with cancer by raising money for treatment, giving them Disney season passes, paying for Peyton to go to a Christian school in Florida and giving them tickets for a NASCAR race at Daytona.

“I realize how much God has given me, so now I want to give to others who are in need,” she wrote. “So many people helped us out, so now I’m asking for anyone who wants to donate new or gently used shoes to help me help those in need.”

Donations of shoes or finances can be made at Brandon House Furniture, 219 W. Washington St., between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.