Sixth grader uses birthday wish to help others | Community Spirit
Video games, action figures and Nerf guns are all things that can be found at the top of a 10-year-old boy's birthday wish list. Chase Loney will turn 11 on August 27th, and this year instead of toys he is asking people to donate shoes for kids in need.
When Chase's mom asked him what he wanted for his upcoming birthday he asked for two things: The new Halo game, and to help disadvantaged kids get shoes for the upcoming school year.
“I wanted to do something for everybody else and not for me,” says Chase. “I know that some of the people don't have what I have.”
Chase's mom, Michelle Sorensen, put an ad on Craigslist on August 1st explaining her son's special birthday wish, and over the last two weeks the shoes have been pouring in. As of Tuesday morning Chase had received 141 pairs of birthday shoes, and during our interview his uncle brought home two more bags of shoe donations.
“It's taking over my guest room!” says Michelle. The floor and bed are covered with shoes of all styles, sizes and colors. Sandals, sneakers and snow boots are all neatly lined up ready to be donated on Chase's birthday. Michelle created a public Facebook event and now shoes and donations to buy shoes have come from friends and family across seven different states.
“It's just exploded into this ginormous wonder of generosity,” says Michelle, who is incredibly proud of her son's giving spirit and heart for those who are less fortunate than himself.
This isn't the first time that Chase has asked his mom if he can do something to help others. When he was only eight, Chase spent the afternoon at a low income day camp Michelle's church was working with. He noticed that the kids there didn't have much to play with and when he got home he asked if he could go through his own to donate.
“He's teaching me right now,” says Michelle. “It's something we can talk about and learn from together.”
Chase says he was inspired to wish for shoes because he noticed that some of his classmates often wore the same clothes to school.
“It's so that way they don't get picked on,” explains Chase. “So they don't feel left out and like they're not cared for.”
Michelle has arranged to drop the shoes off at the Union Gospel Mission on Chase's 11th birthday. UGM will then distribute the shoes to kids in the crisis shelter and Anna Ogden Hall. They will also be donating some to the Center for Women and Children in Coeur d'Alene and have been contacted by a few foster parents in need of help.
“We never even thought that it would get to this level,” says Michelle. “It's a wonderful feeling.”
Other Mothers has agreed to donate all the shoes they have left over following a sale on Saturday and Fleet Painting is making a monetary donation that Michelle will use to purchase more shoes. Chase hopes that they will get a least 200 pairs of shoes, and adds that when he made he wish he thought that they would only get a few pairs.
Chase, who will start the sixth grade in September, says that when he grows up he wants to be “everything that will help”.
If you want to make a shoe donation to Chase Loney's birthday wish you can contact Michelle via their Mega Wish Birthday Facebook event.
UPDATE: As of Monday, August 19th, 498 pairs of shoes had been donated for Chase's birthday wish.