Campers collect 70,000 sneakers to donate to Central American children

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Legarza campers collected bags of sneakers for a shoe drive that will benefit children in Central America.

Some children in San Francisco are learning more than just basketball and volleyball skills. The sports camp they attend is teaching them about helping others in a big way.

Speed and agility are important for every athlete, but without the right equipment, like shoes, developing skill on the court is a long shot.

More than 30 Legarza Summer Camp children are collecting shoes to donate to children in Central America. What started as a simple idea at the beginning of the summer to celebrate the camp's 25th year, has turned into a shoe bonanza.

"They don't have a lot of stuff and it's kinda hard going to basketball without shoes, going to volleyball without shoes so it kinda feels good to give to them," said Josie, a summer camp athlete at Legarza Summer Camp.

The stage inside a gymnasium at 40th Street and Lawton in the Outer Sunset District was filled with more than 4,000 pairs of shoes collected by the student athletes and their coaches. By the end of the day Friday, this location and the other Legarza camps will have collected more than 70,000 pairs of shoes to give away.

"It's just incredible to me that these kids can gather up and collect these many shoes it was amazing," said Dejeurne Peoples, Legarza Camp director.

The coaches here agree. They say their philosophy is simple: encourage young people to the think about others and build a community of compassion.

"A kid brought 87 pairs this week. Yep, 87," said Luke Valenzuela, a Legarza basketball coach. "It actually inspired me to go out and collect my own and now I've donated over 200 pairs myself."

Showing that teachers are often inspired by their students.

And then, just as we stepped outside one more family dropping off two bags of shoes.
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sportsbasketballchildrencharitiescharitydonationsathletesschool athleticsSan Francisco
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