CAMDEN TWP — A little girl with a big heart celebrated her eighth birthday Sunday.
In lieu of gifts, 115 pairs of used shoes in good condition were donated at Amy Gerber’s party held at the Camden Township Recycling Center. About 55 friends and relatives of the Gerber family — 40 adults and 15 children — celebrated Amy’s birthday by dropping off shoes.
“I really didn’t need any gifts or anything, I had enough,” said Amy of Kipton. “I just heard of a lot of people that needed shoes and decided to do it.”
Amy was inspired by children she saw on a Disney Channel show in August, according to her mother, Julie Gerber. The children sold hugs to help pay their grandmother’s medical bills.
The church the Gerbers attend in Kipton includes volunteers with Mountain Vision Ministries, a ministry that donates food and other supplies to people in Appalachia. The region includes southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia.
Since its 1993 founding, the Wooster-based ministries has donated 4 million pounds of food, according to the ministries website. The shoes — separate donations also were made at the church — will be trucked to the ministries warehouse in Wooster and transported to Appalachia in November, according to Ken Nimon, a ministries volunteer.
The donation was a first for Amy, whose parents and sister, Lorissa-Michelle Gerber, describe as very mature and generous. Amy has always shared her food and toys, according to her sister.
“Most kids her age are me, me, me,” said Lorissa-Michelle Gerber, 21. “She wants to give to other people.”
Julie Gerber said she has tried to keep her daughter from becoming materialistic but hasn’t shielded her from poverty in America.
Some 46 million Americans, including one in four children, were living in poverty in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We let her see those who are struggling because it makes her more thankful for what she has,” Julie Gerber said.
Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Anyone wishing to donate new or used adult’s or children’s shoes in good condition can contact Ken Nimon, a Mountain Vision Ministries volunteer, at (440) 669-7534 or go to the ministries website.