soles4soulsDonation bins like this one can be found at all Red Bank schools in a campaign to collect shoes for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)


Face it, you’ve been staring at that cluster of shoes in the closet for a long time now. You’ve only worn them a couple times since you bought them and you need to make space.

Red Bank’s students have a place to put them that’s a lot better than chucking them in the garbage.

They’ve also put their ideas for a couple of concerts in motion to do the same thing they hope to do with old shoes: help out the victims of the January 12 earthquake in Haiti.

Middletown’s Nancy Scharff will be among the many performers at the “Helping Haiti Benefit Concert” at Red Bank Middle School on March 27.

All of the borough schools, along with the borough government and potentially some downtown merchants, are collecting new and gently used shoes to send to Haiti via the Soles 4 Souls foundation.

Collection boxes are set up at the schools and in borough ball. Red Bank RiverCenter is on the lookout for some businesses that want to provide drop-off locations as well, said Councilman Michael DuPont, who brought the idea to the Red Board of Education a couple weeks ago.

Since then, he said the students took off with it and are hoping to fill a trailer that will eventually head down to Tennessee to drop off the shoes at the foundation’s headquarters.

“The kids will be out asking mom and dad, aunts and uncles, grandma and grandpa for some old shoes,” DuPont said. “This is an education initiative. It’s to teach the kids that you’re going to be someone to depend on.”

The campaign will culminate on March 6 with a town-wide drop-off at the middle school, likely from 9a to 2p. By then, DuPont said he hopes there will have been some serious purging of closets in order to help out the earthquake victims in Haiti.

“You don’t necessarily need to have money in your pockets to make a difference,” he said. “By doing this I think they’re making a very big impact.”

The borough is doing more than just collecting shoes for Haiti, though. At Red Bank Middle School, there will be a benefit concert from 6 to 9p on March 5.

Social Studies teacher J.T. Pierson said the concert won’t be your run of the mill band and chorus deal, though they will be featured. There will also be local bands and the curiously named group Thundercheese, of which middle school teacher Chris Ippolito is part. Piersen said it will be a lounge type atmosphere, with some food and refreshments, as well as other small items for sale.

Again, this was something students took the lead on, Pierson said.I t came up one day in his social studies class when they were talking about Haiti.

“My students said, ‘what’s the point of talking about it and covering it? Why don’t we do something?'” Pierson said. “I said, ‘that’s what I was waiting to hear.'”

All the proceeds from the concert will go to the Red Cross.

The music and fundraising doesn’t end there.

There will be another concert for Haiti at the middle school at 6p on March 27. This effort, although it will include the middle school band, is a collaborative effort from many different groups in town and is sponsored by the Pilgrim Baptist Church and the Helping Haiti Initiative.

Students from the high school and primary school will take part in it, as well as other religious groups that will perform. There will also be a special exhibit on Haiti and financial appeal to help Quanaminthe, a Haitian city. For more details on the concert, contact Rev. Terrence Porter at 732.747-.2343.