Jake Kubehl, 17, a junior at Plano West, and his fellow members from the Plano Chapter of Young Men's Service League - YMSL, along with some additional volunteers, collected and delivered 172 pairs of new and gently used athletic shoes to Joseph’s Coat, a program of The Storehouse of Collin County in Plano.
Kubehl was inspired to conduct the shoe drive after attending a Zoom presentation on the impact of poverty and food insecurity in Collin County by Ben Skye, director of communications and culture at The Storehouse. During the meeting, Kubehl and his YMSL group learned about each of The Storehouse programs, including Joseph’s Coat, a clothing closet which provides new and gently used clothing for job interviews, school, and special events. The clothing items are donated by families within the community and cleaned and organized by staff and volunteers before being distributed.
Kubehl was struck by the fact that many Plano students are unable to participate in summer and outdoor activities because they do not have the right shoes. Inspired to meet the need in his community, he invited his YMSL Chapter to join him in organizing a shoe drive. He reached out to the student councils, NHS, and other clubs to help spread the word amongst Plano ISD students. He also used social media to market this drive and set up an Instagram and promoted it by giving students the opportunity to receive service hours. Jake set up an additional drop-off location for the shoes at Elite Care in West Plano. There were 65 total participants in the effort, which included 25 YMSL boys. The original goal of collecting 100 pairs of shoes was surpassed as the total reached 172.
“The Storehouse of Collin County is grateful to Jake Kubehl for his wonderful initiative to put shoes on the feet of children who need them so desperately,” said Christi Ferrell, director, Joseph’s Coat, a program of The Storehouse of Collin County. “Unlike adults, kids can outgrow their shoes in a few months, and poor-fitting shoes can lead to safety issues on the playground or sports field and even affect the health of their growing feet. Additionally, well-fitting footwear can boost self-confidence in the school hallway, on the gym floor and in the classroom.”
“I have been selling and collecting sneakers for the past six years, and during that time I have noticed a huge divide in the shoes people wear,” added Jake Kubehl. “While I often see sought-after shoes on someone’s feet, I have become more aware of those wearing ill-fitting shoes or shoes with holes in them. Shoes are so important, and I am thrilled by the participation in this effort. I’m excited that the shoes we collected will help kids in need, and I hope to conduct another drive near the start of the school year.”
Donations of clothing and shoes may be dropped into the Joseph's Coat Donation Shed, located next to The Storehouse of Collin County, 1401 Mira Vista Boulevard, Plano, 75093. Currently, there is a huge need for children's clothing and shoes for all ages.
The Storehouse of Collin County provides short-term assistance and long-term transformation to residents of Collin County in need through the Seven Loaves Food Pantry, Joseph’s Coat Clothing Closet, and Project Hope. The nonprofit was founded in 2009 under the name of Seven Loaves Community which provided only food pantry staples and grew over the years to meet a variety of needs. Over 1,600 families on average access the Seven Loaves Food Pantry each month. The Storehouse also provides an opportunity to receive clothing at Joseph’s Coat as well as referrals to community resources through the Project Hope relational program. Visit www.thestorehousecc.org.
Anyone in Collin County in need of clothing may sign up for an appointment time at Joseph’s Coat at https://www.thestorehousecc.org/josephs-coat
Watch this short video to learn more.