GATE CITY — The Rotary Club of Scott County is hoping to make life a little easier for children in need this winter.

The club has launched its 31st annual shoe fund drive, which provides new pairs of shoes and socks to underprivileged students in county schools, all thanks to community donations.

“I just think it’s a great thing, because there are so many kids that need things,” Chris Kimbler said. “This year, it’s even more, I think, because so many people are without jobs.”

A different year

This year’s shoe fund drive is a little different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The kickoff for the fundraiser was slightly delayed this year, and the shoes will be delivered a little later — after Christmas break instead of before. The basic goal, though, remains the same.

“It’s going to be a different challenge this year, but we’ll make it,” Kimbler said. “I think it’ll all work out; it’s just going to be different this year.”

Kimbler said the club gets donations from both locals and people from across the country who have ties to Scott County. He added that Rack Room Shoes and U-Haul have been helpful with selecting the shoes and getting them to the schools for delivery to students.

“A lot of the kids, they get hand-me-downs, but getting their own pair, it really makes them feel good,” Kimbler said. “I’m just glad that the Rotary Club is part of being able to do that, and of course, we couldn’t do it if it weren’t for the community helping us.”

How to help

Tax-deductible donations can be mailed to Rotary Club of Scott County, P.O. Box 728, Gate City, VA 24251. Donations can be made year-round, but those who want to contribute to this year’s shoe fund should mail in their contributions by Dec. 31.

“I upped the goal this year to $20,000, and we’re already getting some money to get started,” Kimbler said. “I feel like we’ll have another good year.”