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Hogansville Elementary set for huge shoe donation

Students at Hogansville Elementary School will start the school year with new tennis shoes thanks to a generous donation from Pedal Forward Community Bike Shop, who received $15,000 from the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation to buy 500 pairs of shoes.

Emilee Abraham, co-founder of Pedal Forward, said her organization holds a drive every year called Stock the School.

“It’s exactly what the name says,” she said.

“We just try to come together as a community and encourage other people to help us bring in school supplies for students. And we stock our elementary school with the supplies students will need to have a successful school year. And this year, we decided we wanted to incorporate shoes into it.”

Abraham said that while the drive primarily focuses on Hogansville Elementary School, it never turns down students from other schools who ask for help.

“When we announced Stock the School this year, we announced that we wanted to provide 500 pairs of shoes, and that big number came from our elementary school usually [having] 480 students enrolled at this point of the summer,” Abraham said. “And we knew, like I said before, that we would help out other students [from other schools]. We knew that that number would be closer to 500, if not over 500.”

Abraham said Pedal Forward had already been in contact with the Holland M. Ware Charitable Foundation.

She and her husband, Alex Abraham, owned the Tandem Goods gift shop on E. Main Street.

Alyssa Schoessow from the foundation came into the shop one day and spoke with Alex about Pedal Forward.

“She told Alex that she was part of the Holland Ware Foundation [and] they would love to connect with us,” Abraham said. “Alex had contacted her and just explained to her, ‘Hey, this is something we do every year. It’s called Stock the School. This year, we want to do shoes.’ And in our heads, we budgeted, ‘Okay, there’s 500 pairs of shoes. We’re going to need about $30 per pair to give them some quality shoes’ … When Alex told her that, she was like, ‘We want to jump on board and provide all of the shoes.’”

Abraham said Pedal Forward is partnering with Fleet Feet Peachtree City, through which they’ll get Saucony brand shoes.

“They’re really, really high-quality shoes,” Abraham said.  “Saucony has come on board saying they want to be able to provide shoes for these kids in a really great price range for us. So, we’ll be able to provide all 500 pairs of shoes, if not more than that, with that $15,000.”

Hogansville Elementary Principal Gina Turner said this is the first time her school has received such a large donation from a community-based organization. She said there are a lot of needy children at her school.

“We [have] 100% free and reduced lunch, we have a pretty high poverty rate for Hogansville,” Turner said.

“As a school, we have always made sure we kept a pretty robust clothes closet, which included clothes, and we’re always having students who need to visit that. So there’s definitely a need amongst our student population for shoes and socks and clothes in general.”

Turner said it will take about a month for the shoes to get to the school.

“As part of our open house process, as families come in to visit the school for open house, before they leave the building, they’ll visit our cafeteria, which will be set up [with] different people,” she said. “Pedal Forward will be here, Fleet Feet will be here., I believe there’s some other corporations … and they’ll measure the children’s feet.”

Turner said that initially, the ordered shoes will be delivered to Fleet Feet.

“Pedal Forward, along with some volunteers, are planning on organizing the shoes by classroom at that point,” she said.

“And then we’ll get them into Troup County and Hogansville and distribute the shoes to every child in their homeroom class.”

Turner said she thinks the donation demonstrates how much the community supports students at Hogansville Elementary School.