Louisville 11-year-old donating hundreds of shoes to young patie - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville 11-year-old donating hundreds of shoes to young patients

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville student is helping hundreds of young patients in need with her shoe collection.

These days, sixth grader Carleigh Hofelich is known for her shoes, any brand, any size or any color. "I have ones that I like to look at, but I've never thought of keeping them," Hofelich said.

They're not what she wears to school or even around the house. These shoes will go to kids Hofelich will never meet. "I know they were mistreated by adults and they were taken from their families because adults mistreated them."

"When I heard the story, I was obviously taken back, like how could an eight year old think of a big idea?" Martha Mather said, Chief Operating Officer for Our Lady of Peace. 

It was around her birthday, four years ago that Hofelich recognized a need for patients in the hospital. She was talking to a relative who volunteered. "She said 'one of the greatest needs there are tennis shoes.'"

That was her cue to help. "It's kind of unbelievable that you've got this little girl that's so self-aware that she didn't really want anything for her birthday," Chris Hofelich said. "It was kind of an amazing and wonderful moment."

Through Carleigh's Kicks for Kids, she's collected hundreds of brand new or gently used shoes. "I hope to raise awareness there are some things that we take for granted, we don't know that they cost this much or that not many people have them," Hofelich said.

She's been stuffing envelopes, talking to businesses and holding school collections to get more donations. "I hope to do this until the shoes at Our Lady of Peace aren't really a need anymore."

It's even become a family affair with relatives giving her extra tennis shoes around the holidays. "I hope that she continues to want to give back to the community and want to do things to help other people. I want her to continue that selflessness, I think it's a rare trait and I think it's a great gift that she can give to everyone," Chris Hofelich said.

At 11 years old, her efforts are getting noticed. "When I met Carleigh, my heart melted because she is just an adorable, soft spoken little girl with big ideas," Mather said.

They're big ideas that we can all learn from. "I want other kids to know that you don't have to be big to do something big. You can be small and still do something big."

To give new or gently used tennis shoes, donations can be dropped off at the Hofelich's home located at 604 Weymuth Place or at Our Lady of Peace Hospital located at 2020 Newburg Road in Louisville. The deadline is Friday, September 30.

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