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Members of the DeLand chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority donated more than 20 pairs of shoes, as well as hygiene products, for students at Edith I. Starke Elementary School in DeLand.

Starke Principal Eilene Ahr told The Beacon she recently spoke with a student who said his shoes were hurting his toes. That prompted Ahr to reach out to the community for assistance.

With help from teachers, guidance counselors and the school nurse, Ahr said, the school will identify children in need of new shoes and give them a pair, courtesy of the Deltas. 

“We want to give encouragement to the students, so they know they’re loved,” Patricia Lane, a Delta Sigma Theta alum, said. “Anything to improve their self-esteem.”

Starke Elementary School is a Title I school, meaning at least 40 percent of the student population comes from low-income families. 

The school has long been an adoptee of the Deltas donations, but in January, President Natalie Watts Brown said, the organization began making regular, monthly donations. 

In March, the donations were chiefly hygiene products for students, and this month, the sisters turned their attention to shoes — 13 pairs for boys and nine pairs for girls. 

Ahr said she was thankful for the work the sisters do to help the school’s students. 

“I appreciate all the Deltas give us,” she said. “Our kids really benefit from the support they give us.”

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