Reagan, 14, an incoming sophomore at Marietta High School, has collected more than 1,700 pairs of shoes to be delivered to Soles4Souls, a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes to be delivered to people in need around the world. A track and cross country runner, Reagan saw how challenging paying for a $150 pair of shoes can be, and wanted to help those who didn’t even have shoes to walk around in.
As a tribute to her sport, the straight-A student called the campaign “In the Long Run.”
“I like to run,” Durham said. “And it shows how something so small can turn into something so big.”
Reagan’s mother, Marsha Durham, said the family is expecting to receive at least another 200 pairs of shoes when they end their campaign in the coming days. They plan to take the bags of shoes to Nashville themselves because there are too many to bring to one of the organization’s drop off locations, and it would be too expensive to ship them all.
The family has been bringing the shoes to their home off Kennesaw Avenue since March. They say word of mouth, Facebook, fliers and help from employees at the east Cobb restaurants the Durhams own, Paradise Grill and Paradise South of the Border, have increased the total.
“Once they overtook our dining room, by mass and by smell, we had to move them out to the garage,” Marsha Durham said.
Now the shoes sit in scented trash bags taking up much of the Durhams’ garage and basement.
Marsha Durham said Soles4Souls brings shoes to third world countries, but also to victims of disasters in the United States. Currently, it is assisting those affected by wildfires in Colorado.
Some friends have donated as many as 70 pairs of shoes. Reagan said she has to pair up the shoes, tie them together and put them in bags. But it’s been worth it, she said.
“I’ve learn that one person can make a huge difference,” she said. “So many people have been so generous.”
Family friend Sinead Cochran said her family has donated 50 pairs of shoes to Reagan’s cause. Her daughters, Keara, 9, and Isabel, 6, help Reagan out.
“I love that my girls see that a young girl is doing something so important,” Sinead Cochran said. “Hopefully, they will grow up to be similar young girls to what she has become.”