The Science Olympiad team at Smoky Mountain High School has launched a used shoe fundraiser that also helps shoe companies in developing countries. The shoes are purchased by Funds2Orgs, a national non-profit organization that organizes shoe drives, from the Science Olympiad, processed and redistributed to businesses in developing countries.

This fundraiser helps small businesses get started in developing countries like Haiti and Ghana, which boosts the economy and helps locals acquire affordable shoes, according to Suzanne Berryhill, SMHS science teacher and organizer of the event.

“We hope to help micro-business owners in developing countries and raise enough funds to make the Science Olympiad self-sustaining,” Berryhill said. “It’s one of those fundraisers that’s just a win-win.”

The campaign got off to a slow start, Berryhill said, but organizers “hoped to push ahead in the next two weeks and get more collections. I would love to see the whole community come in and help with this.

Berryhill had contacted the Ingles in Sylva to set up a collection box for used shoes, which is now open for collection.

The Ingles box is filled with footwear of all kinds, such as boots, dress shoes, sneakers and more.

“The Science Olympiad is a great way for me to practice my skills,” said Dagney Williams, Science Olympiad team member.

Williams helps raise funds by telling people what’s going on, what the team does and stands for, she said.

Fundraising would have a positive impact on the Science Olympiad, providing the team with opportunities to do well and pay for the equipment the team needs to compete, she said.

There are collection points at Sylva Ingles and the SMHS front office. Fundraising ends Thursday, March 24, and they accept clean, moderately used shoes in resalable condition.

Christensen is a Jackson County Early College student and Sylva Herald intern.