Shoe Sensation kickstarts fundraiser for Upshur County schools

TENNERTON – Shoe Sensation started a new fundraiser this year to support Upshur County schools.

Geneva Jenkins, store manager of Shoe Sensation in Skyline Plaza, said she heard about a program called the Upshur County Comfort Closet or the Upshur County Needs Closet from a local teacher.

“It’s a program where each school has a closet that is full of stuff that children may need like shoes, socks, different articles of clothing and anytime the counselors see a need, they’re able to take the child, confidentially, into the closet and let them select what they need,” Jenkins said. “It could be a pair of shoes, it could be a new shirt, it could be personal care products – anything like that.”

Jenkins said each Shoe Sensation store is encouraged to select a fundraiser in their community ahead of back-to-school time.

“I chose the Upshur County Needs or Comfort Closet because I actually see firsthand the needs that we have in the county, especially when it comes to the children,” Jenkins said. “We’ve had customers come through that have purchased things for it, we’ve had private donations, and people gave us money and told us to just purchase what we think the closets may need.”

On Sunday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m., Shoe Sensation has invited counselors from Tennerton Elementary School, Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School and Buckhannon-Upshur High School to gather the donations they need for their respective closets.

“We will put the merchandise on display out in front of the store for them to see so they can shop freely for their closets, and that way each counselor can get what they need for their program,” Jenkins said. “We’ve partnered with the counselor from Tennerton Elementary since it was closest to our store and in our community, but she did say if we have a large amount, she may split it up between two elementary schools.”

She said the store has accumulated a significant number of donations, and the majority of the items are brand new.

“We do have a couple that donated over $260 just for 12 pair of athletic shoes for the high school and we have many customers on a daily basis come in and they see it’s going on and they buy something,” Jenkins said. “Our largest donation was from Mt. Hermon United Methodist Church; the congregation gave $600 and part of it went to buy clothing, and the other part went to buy shoes, and also personal care items for all three of the closets.”

Jenkins said the fundraiser also supports the counselors that run their closets.

“A lot of times, it’s not even something that’s advertised,” she said. “They don’t send letters home saying, ‘hey, send stuff for the needs closet.’ Oftentimes, the counselors themselves fund their closet with their own money and schoolteachers too.”

“We thought it would be a great way to partner with the community and do our part, celebrate going back to school and celebrate the counselors for being so caring,” Jenkins added. Shoe Sensation is located at 100 Skyline Plaza Drive in Buckhannon.

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