Jim Raykie

Jim Raykie

I was sitting outside on Sunday morning, having a cup of coffee on the brink of a lovely day, when my daughter Jamie and my wife Janice asked if I wanted to open my Father’s Day gifts. Always eager for surprises, I opened the card and started to rip away at the wrapping paper.

The first package contained several pair of ankle-high socks, my favorites throughout the spring, summer and fall. I knew the next two boxes didn’t contain golf balls, but figured that they may have something to do with the socks.

Sure enough, the first box contained a pair of New Balance tennis shoes, and the second a pair of boat shoes, just in time for the hot part of the summer. Besides that, my old pair had been relegated to yard work a couple of months ago. And I never have enough tennis shoes. An old habit from my days as a kid wearing Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars, I practically live in them.

As I sat there, taking a sip of coffee and admiring my shoes, I thought about a story in The Herald last Friday about the Shoe Our Children campaign. Here I was, getting two pairs of shoes for recreation, while many area children don’t have decent shoes to wear to school and other places.

It re-enforced how the annual drive, sponsored by The Herald with inspiration and cooperation from the James A. Winner Jr. family, remains one of the vital programs that benefits our area. It reminded me about the contributions, large and small, from many residents in such tough times, and the dedication and generosity of Reyers Shoe Store throughout the many years in supporting the program by donating thousands of pairs of shoes.

One of the many contributions, which were acknowledged with the Friday story, was a thoughtful donation from Ricky Hale, who will be entering seventh grade at Sharon Middle/High School in the fall. He gave the Shoe Our Children program $100 that he had received as gift money for his birthday.

All in all, we collected $17,300 in the official two-month appeal, which was a successful drive considering the rising prices of food, gasoline, and most other goods and services. But it takes more than $20,000 annually to fund all of the requests for shoes for children in area schools, and we fell short of our $25,000 goal.

While the calendar says that the two-month appeal has ended, necessity says that it’s really a year-round effort, and we would like to continue to seek your financial support. Like The Herald’s Good News Fund drive for turkeys in the fall, every cent of the donations is returned to the community, with zero administrative, maintenance or other costs. It’s through the great efforts by volunteers, especially at Winner International, that the program successfully fills such a community need.

The next time you slip into that new pair of shoes, like I did Sunday morning, think about how fortunate we are, and how your donation can make a difference in the lives of many of the area’s less fortunate children. Checks are payable to The Good News Fund/Shoe Our Children and can be mailed in care of The Herald, Box 51, Sharon, 16146, or dropped off at The Herald at 52 S. Dock St.

The editor's e-mail bag

I got this note from Stella Perrine, speaking for all of the good folks involved with the Shenango Valley Community Library and The Friends of the Library. The library, in its major fund-raising project of the year, recently completed another successful book sale.

“Thanks so much for mentioning our book sale in your column. Every bit of publicity we get is so important to us. We often discuss pricing and how to best serve our customers plus make the most money for the library. One thing we all agree on is that ‘the more people who come through the door, the more money we will make.’ We made more than $7,000 this sale; that is a lot of books moved! We could not have achieved that without your help. Every one of us thanks you for your kindly mention.”

Herald online poll results

We left our poll question up for awhile as planned, and nearly 5,000 respondents picked whom they thought would be the Democratic nominee for president. Of the 4,804 respondents, 52.4 percent picked Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the remaining 47.6 percent picked Sen. Barack Obama, who turned out to be the nominee.

Check out our latest poll question: “Has the price of gasoline canceled your summer vacation or radically changed it?” Vote at www.sharonherald.com

Jim Raykie is the editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays. His e-mail is jraykie@sharonherald.com

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