HARRISON COUNTY, IN (WAVE) - A southern Indiana elementary school principal couldn't help but notice a lot of her students didn't have proper shoes. This holiday season, she set out to raise money to make sure all of the children would have a brand new pair.
Nissa Ellett, the principal of Heth-Washington Elementary, came up with the idea Shoes for Students, but little did she know what the response would actually be.
"Throughout the year we have repaired I can't even tell you how many shoes," said Ellett. In rural Harrison County, for some families, sometimes it is just hard to make ends met.
"Poverty has really hit our school because of the factories that have closed in the Corydon are over the last few years, our poverty rate has risen since I've been here from probably about 50 percent to 75 percent," said Ellett.
Ellett says she understands times are tough.
"We've used duct tape and staples and I started really noticing this is a much bigger problem than I realized," said Ellett.
So she reached out to the community with one goal to raise $6,000 to buy each student a brand new pair of shoes.
"Within, I think it was three or four days, we had $3,300, three or four more days we were up to almost $7,000," said Ellett.
By shopping time the donations skyrocketed to $17,000. The students were brought to the gym for a nice surprise.
"The kids are getting shoes, snow boots, a hooded sweatshirt, chap stick, candy, gloves and socks," said Ellett.
"I got a new pair of snow boots, said second grader Madelynn Allen.
For a lot of the kids, they've never had their own.
"I always have to wear my brother's," said Madelynn.
"They are warmer than my other shoes were," one student said excitedly.
Now, many are hoping for a white a Christmas.
"As soon as it snows, I'm going to go out there and just wear them," said fourth grader Donovin Allen.
"This is really awesome," said Donovin's mother, Kristian Allen. "I have tears in my eyes, because it is just really nice that the community does this."
It's a school that goes above and beyond to make sure their kids have just what they need.