When David Diaz, a Boy Scout from Troop 44, was looking for his final Eagle Scout community service project, he wanted to do something that would impact people’s lives in a positive way. He decided to develop a permanent donation process to collect new and lightly used shoes for families and individuals in need here in the New River Valley.
Diaz originally got the idea from another non-profit, Shoes for Souls, that provides shoes to Haiti.
Knowing that there are men, woman and children that might find this service helpful closer to home, he decided to talk it over with his troop leader, Eddie Baker. They agreed to come up with a similar plan, but to keep it local. After conducting research, he discovered all sorts of donation services in place during Christmas and the holidays, but not during the rest of the yeart. “Most homeless people only have one pair, and in some cases are not dry, warm shoes”, Diaz said. He wanted to make sure his project provided shoes to those most in need on a continual (year round) basis.
To that end, Diaz decided to start a shoe donation process this involved building donation boxes and partnering with several area churches and businesses that were willing to provide a shoe drop off, and help collect and distribute shoes as needed. Scout leaders Tom Roberts and Rob Russell have helped mentor Diaz with his project.
As with all Eagle Scout Service projects, other members from Troop 44 pitched in to help as well. Diaz obtained the materials and a group of scouts helped construct the boxes. Lowe’s and Heavener’s Hardware donated supplies.
In the past few weeks, he placed boxes at Wake Forest Baptist, Blacksburg Presbyterian, and Blacksburg Church of Christ.
The Roanoke Rescue Mission was contacted and they happily agreed to take part in this effort. Leslie Littlefield, the local area volunteer coordinator, was delighted to accept Diaz’s first donation of shoes.
He has been involved with scouting for over 12 years since he first started in kindergarten.
Diaz enjoys backpacking, hiking, swimming and cooking. He received his Arrow of Light when he was in the fifth grade and has been involved with a wide variety of scouting programs such as Mountain Man, Leave No Trace Behind, Aquatics Base Camp (where he learned motor boating, sailing and water safety skills), and camping and Dutch oven cooking on the Appalachian Trail. Some of his merit badges include: Environmental Science, Citizenship in the Community, Communications, Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, Fishing, Swimming, Theatre and Arts. He feels scouting has been very important to his life.
Diaz said “Scouting has and will continue to enrich my awareness of who I am, those around me, and my environment. I am proud to leave a footprint, no matter how small, on my community.”
He is a senior at Blacksburg High School and enjoys screenwriting, illustration, and filmmaking and recently co-directed a one act play at BHS, and hopes to remain active in the fine arts community.
Diaz is on schedule to finish his Eagle Scout Award in the next few months, however his experience with scouts and helping others is a lifelong commitment.