St. Ann School Students Collect Shoes For Clean Drinking Water

St. Ann School Students Collect Shoes For Clean Drinking Water

By Alex Haglund

St. Ann School teacher Janice Gaubatz has been heading up the Works of Mercy efforts carried out by the school’s students. For September, the work of mercy that the students carried out was twofold – to clothe the naked and to give drink to the thirsty. This was carried out by the students collecting shoes, 385 pairs of them.

The shoes were then donated to George Hutchings, known as The Shoe Man (his website can be found here), who collects shoes, brings them to Africa, then sells them to local businesspeople there, before using the money to help dig wells or purchase water purifying supplies.

St. Ann Students display the 385 shoes that they collected as part of September’s Works of Mercy, along with the Shoe Man, George Hutchings, and instructors Marsha Holzhauer, LEFT, and Janice Gaubatz and Ashley Crabtree, RIGHT.

Hutchings started his project in 1999 and has since helped to build more than 300 wells in Africa, South America and Haiti.

When the students at St. Ann School presented the shoes to him, he stated that while 385 pairs wasn’t quite enough to dig a well on its own, “you all have collected enough shoes to purchase a water purifying system.”

Hutchings said that this meant that a previously dug well that was tainted or had bad water could then be used again to provide healthy drinking water.

Gaubatz said that for October, the Work of Mercy that students would be undertaking was to bury the dead or console the grieving. She said that while children couldn’t actually bury the dead, St. Ann students would be going to the area’s two Catholic cemeteries and would be cleaning them up and perhaps providing some decorations for the graves.