Rotary resumes award-winning Happy Feet project for new school year
By Jim Turner

Posted on August 3, 2015 3:28 PM

For a sixth straight year, Russellville Rotary Club members—with the help of many other Logan Countians—will put their “Service Above Self” motto into action for the benefit of young people in the Land of Logan.

Letters are going out this week from Project Chairman Jim Riley asking individuals and businesses to contribute to Rotary’s Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet project. For many of them, the letter actually encourages them to contribute once again.

Rotarians and the project’s other supporters spent $15,553 in 2014 to provide a pair of tennis shoes and a warm coat to youngsters in need in both the Russellville and Logan County school systems.

Since the project began in 2010, Rotarians have distributed 1,534 pairs of tennis shoes and 901 coats to children whose needs have been documented by school resource workers in local schools.

This year, the project is adding a third level with donations of jeans to students who need a dependable pair of pants to go along with their shoes and coats.

Riley told Don Neagle on WRUS Monday morning that donations to the project, which are tax deductible, were more than sufficient last year to pay for the shoes and coats, leaving a start-up fund for the jeans portion.

Melanie Gragg Manley, who heads the Adairville and Lewisburg resource centers, and Carol Kersteins Kees of the Russellville Schools, talked about how important the project is to families who have trouble affording basic necessities for their children.

Manley, Kees and other school resource staffers work to insure that receiving the clothing does not prove to be a stigma for the students involved. Fitting and distribution are done discreetly with the help of Shoe Carnival of Bowling Green.

The program was suggested by Riley in 2010, and he has served as its chair ever since.

Last year, Rotary District 6710 honored Russellville Rotary Club for having the best service project among the 57 Rotary Clubs in Russellville’s district, which is the western half of Kentucky. Assistant District Governor Tom Harned accepted the award on behalf of his home club.

Brad Rogers was club president during the year the award was earned. Joe Ross is the current president. Laurie Holloway is treasurer. Rotarian Danny Harris, who is finance officer for the Logan County Schools, is also involved in accounting for the project.

Donations can be made by sending them to Russellville Rotary Foundation, Laurie Holloway, Treasurer, c/o Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, CPAs, 167 South Main Street, Russellville 42276.

Rotarian Ben Brown says he will accept cash or check donations for the program at his Logan County Property Valuation Administrator office on West Fourth Street in Russellville.

Riley notes that unlike many charitable efforts, 100 percent of all funds donated goes directly to young people in need.


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