Local team raises money to provide people with shoes

DEER PARK, Ohio (WKRC) – Having a pair of shoes is something that many take for granted.

On Wednesday night, February 8, the Deer Park girls basketball team's coaching staff went without them in an effort to make sure that some children don’t have to.

For three years, Coach Taber’s teams have collected more than $5,500 for Samaritans Feet, an organization that gives shows to kids who don’t have them or can’t afford them.

Coach Taber first heard about the organization when he attended Mount St. Joseph’s University.

“It touched my heart and I knew when I became a head coach I wanted to continue the tradition,” said Taber.

Taber and his players host numerous fundraisers during the season for "Samaritans Feet," culminating with a game where Coach Taber and the staff go barefoot.

“The first year was kind of awkward, walking out with everyone staring at you, but that's why we’re here, to raise awareness for the cause,” said Taber. “You don't realize how fortunate you have it and how many people around the world go without shoes every day. You can go home and look at your closet and pick what shoes you're going to wear. It's kind of humbling and touches your heart makes you realize don't take anything for granted.”

The money collected goes to purchase the shoes.

In the past, the team has gone to the distribution event.

They meet the kids who will get the shoes and they even wash their feet before giving them the shoes.

“Just to see the looks on the kid’s faces when you get to wash their feet and make that connection and speak to them get to know them put a pair of shoes on their feet,” said Ashley Mabes.

Mabes is a senior forward on the team and has been a part of all three years with helping out Samaritans Feet.

Coach Taber said Deer Park is the only high school in Ohio working with Samaritans Feet. Mabes said she wanted that to change.

“It's cool to be the first of something, so we are hoping by playing other teams in the Cincinnati Hills League (CHL) and asking them and their players in this game we hope that they will want to continue the same thing,” said Mabes.

And it will. Next season all teams in the CHL will host a barefoot game for Samaritans Feet.

CLICK HERE for more on the organization.

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