Teen starts sneaker drive for bullied classmates

Local News

Recently, a Facebook picture of thirteen-year-old Zaire Downs laying in a pile of sneakers went viral.

Zaire just celebrated his thirteenth birthday – and his wish was nothing ordinary.

“Some kids get bullied in school because they don’t have the nicest sneakers,” Zaire said. “So I want to help them.”

Zaire started a sneaker drive with the help of his mother, Tamara Leigh.

“He explained to me that this was a big deal,” Leigh said. ‘It was important for him for kids to start the year with a fresh pair of sneakers, to be confident and be ready for the year. And sometimes kids don’t even come to school because they don’t have new sneakers. “

Zaire created a drop box for people to donate shoes. He placed these boxes at local barber shops and at community festivals. Soon, the word spread.

“I felt good because I know it was going to help the kids that needed it,” said Zaire. “I didn’t know we were going to get this much shoes and money.”

Zaire’s goal is to collect 65 pairs of shoes. So far, he has collected 50 pairs that are ready to be delivered.

This upcoming Saturday is his last call for help to reach his goal. He will have a table set up at book bag drive at the Webster Avenue Recreation Center for anyone who wants to donate shoes.

“People can come out, look for their size, and if they have youth with them we encourage them to take a pair home,” said Leigh. “Most of them, as you can see, look pretty brand new.”

Zaire says he is looking forward to future drives, and helping kids who are less fortunate.

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