Former Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson and Councilor Jim Quinn with the shoes and socks donations collected at last year’s Heart and Sole Shoe Drive. This year’s event is Tuesday, June 10, at Lake Seminole Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd.
SEMINOLE – When Seminole Councilor Jim Quinn took a tour of the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranch in Safety Harbor during a fundraiser last Spring, one of the first things he noticed was the feet of his 7-year-old tour guide, Jason.
“He was walking in front of us and the little fella was decked out in his finest clothes, but he was wearing shoes that were a size 10 or 11,” Quinn said. “So he was all spit and polish, but on his feet were a pair of sneakers that were too big.”
After the tour, Quinn sprung to action, with the help of former Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson, and organized the first Heart and Sole Shoe Drive at Lake Seminole Square last July. They collected 450 pairs of shoes, $600 and a few dozen packages of socks.
“This year we want to do even better,” said Quinn, who is a member of the Sheriff Advisory Council.
This year’s drive will be held Tuesday, June 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and once again the items will be collected at Lake Seminole Square, 8333 Seminole Blvd.
Donations have already begun pouring in, he said. That’s because this year he’s had more time to organize the event. Last year he put it together pretty quickly and didn’t advertise it as much.
“But this year we had more time to run it,” he said.
Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches provide residential care to neglected and needy children, and strive to offer them direction and guidance. Most of them have parents in the prison system and have nowhere else to turn, Quinn said.
“These kids come here with nothing,” he added, “sometimes just the clothes on their back.”
There are so many other things to think about by the time they arrive at the Youth Ranches, from obtaining clothing for them to registering them in school, that finding shoes that fit properly for these children is low on the list of priorities, Quinn said.
“It’s really a wonderful program,” he said. “So we wanted to do something to help.”
The Heart and Sole Shoe Drive will accept new or gently used pairs of shoes and new socks for girls and boys ages 3 through 18.