Newman graduate Anthony Harvey ‘20 and his friend, Ja’Darius “JD” Woods, found a way to give back by organizing a local shoe drive they called Kicks 4 Kids, during which more than 300 pairs of shoes were collected for kids in their community.
They also raised close to $1,500, which they donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence, Kansas.
The shoe drive took place Sept. 5 in the parking lot of Lawrence High School. Harvey said he and Woods were amazed at the turnout and support of the local community, with only one week’s notice. Volunteers consisted of friends and family, but athletes from the University of Kansas (KU) and Baker football teams also helped out.
McDonald’s donated breakfast and drinks for the volunteers while KU athletics donated a large number of shoes to the drive.
The community support didn’t stop there.
“We got donations from KU football, basketball, baseball, and rugby … from Baker football and baseball,” said Harvey. “Along with that, we received support from countless businesses and athletic teams in the Lawrence area. We even got support and donations from the Major League Baseball Colorado Rockies organization.”
The amount of support was overwhelming and inspiring for Harvey and Woods, who had been trying for quite some time to think of a way to make a small contribution to their community. With a national pandemic taking a toll emotionally and financially on so many individuals, they decided it was time to make their dream become reality.
Harvey said the original goal was to hold a shoe drive for community members in need while promoting love, peace and equality in regards to the Black Lives Matter movement. But the concept became even bigger with monetary donations coming in. That’s when they chose to help out the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.
“We donated the proceeds we collected to the Boys and Girls Club because that’s where a lot of local athletes go after school, and that’s where their athletic careers start — through those leagues. JD and I grew up going to the boys and girls club here in Lawrence. It was a perfect way to give thanks for guiding us in the right direction as young kids and adults.”
Harvey will be using his Newman Bachelor of Science in criminal justice to join the Lawrence police department. He started his journey with the police academy on Sept. 14. When asked why he chose to become a police officer, he said, “I want to be the change. I want to help my brothers and sisters to not be afraid every day while living their lives. I just pray that our country and the world can see better days soon.”
The shoe drive is just one way Harvey was able to be part of the change he wants to see.
“(It) was for the community and the culture. It wasn’t about JD or myself. It was about seeing the smiles on those kids’ faces when they got the brand new pair of shoes their parents couldn’t afford. It was about seeing how happy the parents were when they saw their kids all playing and running around in the new shoes right after they got them. It was about spreading love and positivity through such a dark time in our country.
“We went into the shoe drive hoping that we could change one kid’s life. And I think we ended up shining light on the community in more than one way. (The community) came together, no matter their race, gender or age, to give back to the kids.”
Harvey and Woods are hoping to do another drive in December 2020 — this time for coats.
“We want to call it Coats 4 Kids. Our goal will be to get donations of coats, gloves, hats and shoes during the holiday season. We just want to keep this positive vibe in the community going strong.”