After ending their annual shoe drive earlier this month, local nonprofit organization Communities In Schools said it collected nearly double the amount of donations than it did the previous year.

“We are just very grateful to the community, and everyone who helped out this year,” said Michael Dewees, the organization’s director of development.

Dewees said the organization received 1,000 pairs of new shoes for needy Central Texas students during its fifth annual “Shoes 4 Kids” drive, which ended Dec. 15.

“Last year, we collected about 600 pairs of shoes,” he said. “This year we got more, and we were very happy to see that number go up.”

Those shoes will be distributed to students in need at area school districts served by CIS, which include Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple, Belton, Copperas Cove, Salado, Florence and Cameron.

At the beginning of the drive, CIS Director Mary Erwin Barr said she believed there were about 2,000 students in need of a new pair of shoes in the organization’s coverage area.

During this year’s drive, the organization received help from a number of local businesses, including Schlotzsky’s and a number of area banks, which served as drop-off centers for donations.

“This outpouring of generosity is truly a blessing to many children who might otherwise have to go another year in a worn pair of shoes,” Dewees said. “We want to thank everyone again from the bottom of our hearts.”

CIS works inside schools, assisting children in need with a number of services, including providing them with clothing.

Last year, the organization provided about 6,300 students with more than 202,000 services.

Contact Chris McGuinness at or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at ChrismKDH.

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