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New Canaan Girl Collects Shoes for Afghan Kids

Tara Brunner has about a half-dozen pairs of shoes she uses on a regular basis. Be they sneakers, sandals or dress shoes, the New Canaan 13-year-old has lots of options, though at the moment she’s stuck with silver and pink shoes thanks to a foot injury.

Now the Saxe Middle School student is spearheading the Afghan Children’s Shoe Project in New Canaan. The program provides shoes for Afghan kids who otherwise might not have protection for their feet.

“A lot of people have a bunch of shoes that they don’t wear and they’ll keep them at home and won’t do anything with them “ said Tara. “When you grow out of them, you don’t know what to do with them. So it’s cool to know that your shoes are going for a good cause and they’re not just sitting at home.”

Tara’s work will help her earn a Girl Scouts Silver Award badge, which requires choosing a community service project and devoting 30 hours to planning and executing it. Between being an eighth-grader and swimming for the New Canaan YMCA Caimans, Tara created and decorated the cardboard collection boxes at several locations around town, including the schools and the New Canaan Library.

Brunner plans to collect shoes until May 20. The Rotary Club of New Canaan and Hobbs Inc. will pay the cost of shipping the shoes to Afghanistan. The Rotarians shipped shoes to Afghanistan in years past to give to children in orphanages.

Rotary Club President Scott Hobbs says Tara should feel proud. “Tara is changing a lot of people’s lives,” he said.

After a week, she’s collected about 200 pairs of shoes, mostly older sneakers. The collection will accept just about all footwear, except heeled shoes and boots.

Tara’s mother Mary already feels proud. “To sit with her as she was going through the shoes, you can see the impact of it,” she said.

Do you know a child who is working on a charitable project as is Tara? Tell us about it in the comments box below. You can also visit our Facebook page.

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