Lakeland Police Athletic League needs your gently-used shoes

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Lakeland’s Police Athletic League is asking you to be a PAL and take a good look in your closet.

They are collecting gently used shoes to raise money for kids.

The shoe drive will do more than put much-needed shoes on the feet of those who need them. A fundraising organization called Funds2Orgs will give money to PAL for the shoes they collect.

The original goal was to collect 100 bags of shoes, which would have earned them a check for $1,500. But the kids at Lakeland’s Police Athletic League are taking the mission seriously, upping their goal to 2,500 pairs.

The money they raise will buy bows and arrows for PAL’s archery program. Right now, they’re using borrowed equipment.

“We’re trying to teach them responsibility. Where not to shoot and some safety issues they need to be aware of when they’re using the bows,” said Lakeland Police PAL, Officer Fred Lewis.

Ultimately, PAL’s target is to keep kids off the street, especially during the summer when they have too much time on their hands.

The shoe project has become a bit of a competition. Kids are hitting up their family members and friends.

Saundrarita Villieras, an elementary teacher during the year, and now PAL staff, is getting help from her principal, students, and everyone she knows.

“I am very intense to win,” said Villieras. “So far, I think I have 75 pairs of shoes I have collected.”

It’s a big step in the right direction. People can donate their shoes at the Lakeland Police Department, the Police Athletic League or at drop boxes around town.