Big-hearted boy spends bar mitzvah money on new shoes for entire elementary school


A Texas boy used his bar mitzvah to gather more than $25,000 worth of donations – enough to provide shoes for an entire school's worth of students.

And that's exactly what he did, giving more than 400 pairs of brand new Nike sneakers to students at Beall Elementary School in El Paso, according to the school district.

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"I have always loved sneakers," St. Clements Parish School eighth grade student Drew Frank said. "When I saw there was a need for sneakers, I wanted to give back."

Drew, 13, teamed up with the Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation for the giveaway. The foundation aims to promote physical fitness in schools and on playing fields in the El Paso area and gives away shoes to students at schools deemed "distinguishable," often in lower income neighborhoods.

"I'm giving sneakers to these kids who may otherwise not have new sneakers," Drew told USA Today. "They just get shoes that have been passed down from generation to generation. I just wanted to give back to these kids who are less fortunate than me."

The Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation typically raises money through an annual walk/run event and community donations. Co-founder Cindy Aboud said Drew's donation is a first for the organization.

"This is the first time a family has contacted us directly to make a donation like this," Aboud said.

First grade student Edgar Vallecillio was the first to get a box of the donated Nikes.

"It feels good to have new shoes," he said. "I like how they feel."

Students, faculty and staff gathered at Beall Elementary on Nov. 7 to try on the shoes and thank Drew.

>> Related: Giving Tuesday offers a chance to pay it forward

"Today is superhero day," assistant principal Evelyn Aguilar-Spring said on Nov. 7. "A hero is a person who is known for being brave, courageous, has outstanding achievements and also has noble qualities. Here today, we have a true hero."

Volunteers sized the shoes for Beall students, including kindergarten student Monet Solis.

"They are pretty," Monet said of the matching pink and black shoes and socks she got through the giveaway. "They are nice people for giving us shoes. That was very helpful."

About 800 pairs of Nikes and 800 pairs of socks were bought as a result of Drew's donation, USA Today reported. The shoes and socks not given to Beall students will go to a local orphanage and a YWCA transitional living center for women and children, according to the newspaper.

"I was just really excited to see their faces when they got their new shoes," Drew said. "It feels great to give back."


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