By Danielle Tadlock
News Report Staff
Near the end of August, Becky Kull and her family, of Effingham, decided to officially launch a shoe drive to adopt a little boy named Simon and bring him home.
Their goal was 7,500 pairs of shoes or 300 bags, which holds 25 pairs of shoes. As of November 28, they had collected 274 bags; or 6,850 pairs of shoes.
“Funds2Orgs let us know we can continue to collect until the second week of December because they will not have a truck in the region until then.” Becky said.
They have had people drop off shoes at their door step, but mostly at the drop off locations around Effingham, which include K&M Floral, Lustig Cabinets, Stylez Hair Salon and First National Bank. Other businesses have collected with their employees, too.
“We have been overwhelmed with the generosity of people,” Kull said. “It’s crazy to think that people who don’t even know us are willing to help bring Simon home.”
For every pound of shoes collected, the Kull family receives funds to help with the adoption fees to bring Simon home.
Six-hundred million shoes are thrown away in the U.S. alone every year and this fundraiser helps keep shoes out of the landfills. The shoes that are donated will be used to help start micro-enterprises in developing countries such as Ghana, Haiti and Honduras, to name a few. This allows families to establish an income, kids to have shoes and prevent so many diseases caused by being shoeless.
The shoe drive is helping to bring Simon home, but is also getting shoes to people in need.
The Kull family met Simon in June while he was here with a hosting program. The goal of the hosting program was to help find families for the children that came here from China for a month.
“We weren’t planning on jumping into anything, but after meeting him we just knew that’s what we were supposed to do,” Becky said.
Through that program they were able to meet with Simon on three separate occasions to see how well he would interact with their family.
Becky and Steve Kull are parents to four of their own daughters -- Emma, Meredith, Caroline, Lydia -- and one son Andrew, who they adopted in 2011 from Korea.
He was a micro-premature baby at birth. He was born at 24 weeks and only weighed in at 1.5 pounds.
Because of his early arrival, he had many special needs.
Just like Andrew, Simon shares the same physical and developmental issues, which they plan to help correct when he arrives here in the U.S. in February or March.
Even though Simon is young, the Kull family noticed how smart Simon was and they noticed his great sense of humor.
“There is so much joy in him,” Becky said.
While surfing Facebook, Kull found an advocacy page that Simon’s host mom had created and started looking through the photos. As soon as she saw the first photo, she knew they were to meet him before he returned to China.
“We knew after we met him that he was to be our son and we were to move forward to adopt him.” Becky said.
They are almost to their goal and can’t wait to see the final results.
“I think that we are all called to orphan care, whether it’s adopting or donating shoes to help another family adopt,” Kull said. “Anyone that is helping us in anyway is part of team Simon.”