This was the sixth annual shoe drive conducted by the Scottish Rite Masons, who are part of the Clay Lodge in Church Hill and Overton Lodge in Rogersville.
“We are so grateful for the Hawkins County Scottish Rite Masons and all of the hard work they put into this project,” said Erika Phillips, director of Hawkins County Coordinated School Health. “After working with the school system to coordinate collecting needed shoe sizes, several members of the Hawkins County club delivered the shoes to the school level.”
Hawkins County Scottish Rite coordinator Harvey Lafollette said he believes their efforts made a lot of children happy.
“Several students put their new shoes on right away and wore them back to class,” he said. “It tickled us to death. ... Every year, we realize delivering those shoes probably made us just as happy as it did the kids.”
Lafollette added, “We’re so thankful for all of the businesses who saw the value of this project and made contributions.”
Joseph Rogers Primary School Principal Lori Allen praised the program.
“Our students and families are so appreciative of the Scottish Rite Masons,” Allen said. “One of our students was beyond ecstatic to receive new shoes. He put on his new shoes and said, ‘Look! These shoes make me run fast. Can I show you how fast they make me run?’ He ran up the hallway just to show how fast they were on his feet. He was so excited to have new shoes and especially new, fast shoes to wear.”
Director of Schools Steve Starnes noted that many county students have received their first pair of new shoes thanks to the Masons.
“The giving spirit of the Scottish Rite Masons represents the best of what Hawkins County has to offer, and we cannot thank the Masons enough for their generosity,” Starnes added.
The Scottish Rite Masons work to reach out to Hawkins County businesses each fall to solicit donations for the shoe program, and they are planning to expand the program next year.