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Staff members in the Ohio County Board of Education Office believed they could do more this year with its annual shoe drive.

More than 25 Ohio County Schools students will soon be breaking in a new pair of shoes for the holiday season, but several students in need will also be receiving a new coat.

Each year, Board of Education Office staff members and administrators donate two or three brand new pairs of shoes to each school in the system. The shoes were recently purchased and delivered to the board office, and they will be donated to students determined by need. School system principals will pick up the shoes this week.

The program is coordinated by staff member Jody Miller who said the donation effort began in 2007 as a winter coat drive. However, it was changed to a shoe drive in 2012 because there were already a number of successful coat drives throughout the schools. Miller said additional contributions this year to the program allowed for the purchases of several coats to be donated to students.

“We know the students love to receive the shoes, and we were able to take it a step further this year and add coats,” she said. “Everyone at the Ohio County Board of Education Office finds it rewarding to be able to provide a nice gift to children who need and appreciate it.”

Ohio County Schools Superintendent Kimberly Miller said the school system’s principals always enjoy presenting the new shoes, and this year coats, to the students.

“They love it,” Miller said. “They are happy to see the students happy. It’s such a rewarding feeling to know that they’ve been able to help a child they care for. The kids smile every time. I know that they will want to put their shoes or coat on as soon as they receive them.”

Photo: Mrs. Claus (Ohio County Schools Federal Programs secretary Jody Miller) and her elf (OCS Human Resources secretary Melinda Denham) are shown with new shoes and coats purchased for students at each of Ohio County’s public schools. Each year, Board of Education Office staff members hold a donation drive to provide new shoes and coats for at least two students at each school.

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