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2009 News Releases

Women’s lacrosse team collecting shoes for Uganda

November 19, 2009

Samantha Stifler (left) and teammate Katie Carbiener with some of the shoes they’re collecting to send to Uganda Samantha Stifler (left) and teammate Katie Carbiener with some of the shoes they’re collecting to send to Uganda

The Longwood University women's lacrosse team is collecting shoes as part of a Richmond-based project to donate shoes to people in Uganda.

Organizers of the Longwood effort, which has been dubbed Share Your Sole, are trying to raise 1,000 pairs of gently used shoes before Dec. 4. The effort was initiated and is being led by team member Samantha Stifler, a sophomore from Jarrettsville, Md., who decided to do so after reading an article in the Oct. 14 issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch about Juma's Shoes. Juma's Shoes was launched by Juma Semakula, a Ugandan native living in Richmond, who is trying to collect 30,000 pairs of shoes to send to his native country in East Africa before Christmas.

Anyone who wants to donate shoes should bring them by Athletics Trailer #3, adjacent to Greenwood Library, or to other collection boxes around campus, including the front lobby of the library or Willett Hall. Persons also may donate shoes by contacting assistant coach Wendy Stone by phone (395-2342) or email (stonewl@longwood.edu).

"We are well on our way to reaching our goal of 1,000 pairs of shoes," Stone said. "We'll take any shoes. We've gotten a lot of sneakers and also kids' shoes and boots. In addition to collecting shoes, we also raised money that we'll send to Juma, who needs several thousand dollars for storage and shipping. After we finish collecting the shoes, we'll take them to Richmond in (head coach) Missy Ackerman's pickup truck."

The team on Nov. 16 held a one-mile relay race, the First Annual Turkey Trample, that raised more than $300 and more than 100 pairs of shoes. The entry fee was either $20 and four pairs of shoes or $40. Some 10 teams and more than 40 people participated in the race on Brock Commons, in which a turkey leg instead of a baton was passed between runners. "We hope to make this an annual event in which we'll donate the proceeds to some charitable cause," said Stone.

The winning team in the relay was Rolling Deep (cross-country runners Tyler Fair, Brian Small, Travis Snider and Andrew Tromey). Among other prizes, the winning all-female team was Stifler's Mom (students Christine Comeau, Kelsey Dean, Laura Miller and Samantha Stifler), the team with the best costume was the Average Joes (golf team members Bobby Fox, Austin Gray, Adam Webb and Mike Young), and the best team name was Doctors of Doom (Dr. Vonnie Colvin, Dr. Jo Morrison, Nancy Scruggs and Dr. Bill Thompson, of the Physical and Health Education Teacher Education program).

The shoes being collected by Juma Semakula will be shipped to churches in Uganda, where shoes in rural areas are an "unfamiliar luxury," says the Richmond Times-Dispatch article. His goal is "barefoot Ugandans showing up at church on Christmas Day and being handed a pair of shoes," the article says. The shoes he is collecting are being kept in a cargo container parked at a storage facility off Jefferson Davis Highway.

Every year each of the athletic teams does a community service project. This is the second consecutive year that the women's lacrosse team's project has focused on Uganda. Last year the team raised money and awareness concerning the "Invisible Children" of northern Uganda, where since 1986 more than 30,000 children have been abducted into the army of guerrilla leader Joseph Kony.