Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brother, Sister Collect Shoes, T-Shirts for Homeless

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Brother, Sister Collect Shoes, T-Shirts for Homeless

Article excerpt

Byline: Cindy Holifield

Carey Hepler and brother Brian collect shoes and T-shirts at the Gate River Run and donate them to charity.

The Heplers have been collecting used running shoes and T-shirts since 2003. Their goal is 2,000 pairs of shoes each year and 5,000 T-shirts a year. During the past five years, the donations have averaged 800 to 1,000 pairs of running shoes and 2,000 to 2,300 T-shirts.

The need isn't coming close to being met. The siblings estimate that only 1 percent to 2 percent of the runners make donations.

The Heplers will have a tent outside the Expo where donations can be dropped off. They will be delivered the Saturday after the race.

"Shoes are like gold" is a common phrase heard at homeless shelters. Homeless people are on their feet most of the day and are often seen wearing ragged and worn-out shoes.

All donations stay local. The shoes go to St. Francis Soup Kitchen and the Downtown Ecumenical Service Council. The donated T-shirts go to Rethreaded. Both organizations serve the area's homeless.

The Gate River Run is next Saturday.

Here's more good news:

- The Stellar Foundation has donated to local charities that help seniors and those who don't have enough food. River Garden Senior Services received $10,000 and Food Bring Hope received $2,500. The donation was in honor of Stellar's 10-year anniversary.

- Georgia Burgin Blanton Wilson from Fleming Island turns 102 on Saturday. Wilson, born March 4, 1915, has one daughter, two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

"I thank the Lord for letting me live this long and thank the Lord for giving me the strength to get up and go every day," Wilson said. "I look forward to the kisses I get every day from my grandson, Richie ... and love being with family and people."

- The team from a local law firm, Spohrer and Dodd, won The Best Cornbread title at the Charity Chili Cook-Off held recently. …

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