Willow Creek Middle School students send shoes to Haiti - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Willow Creek Middle School students send shoes to Haiti

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

Students at Willow Creek Middle School in Rochester collected and packaged 680 pairs of new and gently used shoes that will be shipped to Haiti. 

"I don't really think I knew what I was getting into, how big this would be when I started," said Cameron Domnick, the main orchestrator behind this relief effort.

14-year-old Domnick's "Shoes for Haiti" project began in earnest last September. Since then, she's been pitching her idea to fellow schoolmates and calling for action. Her project ignited a school-wide competition.

Over 50 classrooms raced to collect the most shoes in under three weeks. Domnick says a sixth-grade class collected more than a hundred shoes in two weeks. The top class in each grade celebrated with donuts donated by the Gingerbread House Bakery in Rochester. 

"I was going to their class almost every day taking box after box," said Domnick.

She joined forces with Sacred Heart Haiti Mission to provide 680 pairs of new or gently used shoes to both children and adults in one of the world's poorest nations.

"I'm pretty proud of her, she's a good kid," said Sandra Thomson, Domnick's mom. "She just worked really hard, shes put in a lot of time a lot of effort and a lot of thought."

"Knowing that other people will be benefited by just a little bit of work, I know that these shoes will really be appreciated," said Domnick. 

She joined forces with Sacred Heart Haiti Mission, a non-profit that has supplied humanitarian necessities to one of the world's poorest nations for more than 30 years. 

"Most of 'em can't afford to buy shoes, and you see people walking around with a pair of old rubbers," said Dale Grabarkiewicz, the director of Sacred Heart Haiti Mission," said Grabarkiewicz

Cindy Maves, a volunteer for the Sacred Heart Haiti Mission, explains that shoes communicate an individual's socio-economic status.

"You're treated better because you have shoes. The kids with no shoes are treated terribly," said Maves.

 Grabarkiewicz says shoes will be shipped next Tuesday,  the 80th time his non-profit is sending much-needed items to Haiti.

"They're so happy to receive anything and the look on their face 'you're really gonna give it to me? It's free? I don't have to do anything for it?'" said Grabarkiewicz.

Domnick is in her final year at Willow Creek Middle School. She plans to enroll at Mayo High School where she hopes to keep this project going. Her younger sister, Emerson Domnick, who will attend the middle school during the next school year, will continue the "Shoes for Haiti" project there.  

Domnick has a gofundme, the money raised will go towards shipping costs.

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