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Carleton Project students help collect shoes for tree project

HOULTON, Maine — For the past few months, Eileen McLaughlin has been busy collecting shoes as part of a non-profit campaign she started to provide footwear to children in underprivileged countries.

The response to her “Shoe Tree” project has been overwhelming, with nearly 225 pairs of shoes collected to date.

The Carleton Project, an alternative education center located on Main Street in Houlton embraced the fundraiser, so McLaughlin called upon some of the school’s more artistic students to create a large tree in the school’s main lobby. The intricately decorated tree encompases much of the school’s lobby at 52 Main St.

Additional trees were located at McDonalds on North Street and the Houlton Salvation Army on Court Street to collect shoes.

Now, comes the hard part of finding enough funds to actually ship the shoes they have collected to Zimbabwe as part of the weCare Africa program. McLaughlin did not have an immediate estimate on how much it will cost to ship the care package to Zimbabwe, but is optimistic the funds will somehow materialize.

“At this point, we are really looking for some corporate or large individual donations to help with shipping costs,” McLaughlin said. “Ideally I would love to be able to ship these items before Christmas, so the kids have a pair of shoes for the holidays.”

For more information on this project, contact McLaughlin at 694-0430.

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