Boy’s birthday request leads to hundreds of shoes for the needy

Tey Barbour used the slogan, 'I love shoes 4 charity,' to help get contributions. (Courtesy of Michelle Martin)
Tey Barbour's birthday request resulted in the donation of $660 in cash, 741 pairs of shoes and seven single shoes. The shoes are seen here, boxed up for Soles4Souls. (Courtesy of Michelle Martin)
A Disney Channel TV show inspired Tey Barbour to collect the shoes. (Courtesy of Michelle Martin)
Tey Barbour is seen with his mom, Michelle Martin. Barbour is holding a jar of change. He's now collecting cash for children with cancer. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

MANASSAS, Va. – An unusual birthday present request from a little boy in Manassas, Va., helped poor families in Guatemala.

Before his seventh birthday in April, Tey Barbour surprised his mom. He wanted shoes for his birthday gift.

At first, the request annoyed his mom, Michelle Martin.

He had just gotten a new pair of shoes.

But Barbour said he wanted shoes for other people.

“I said I wanted shoes for charity — for people who don’t have any shoes,” he said.

A show on the Disney Channel inspired the young man to collect the shoes for Soles4Souls, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty.

Initially, his mother was a little skeptical.

“I thought, OK, he is turning seven. As his birthday gets closer he’s going to say, ‘I want gifts,’ but he never did. He stuck to it,” said Martin.

Barbour and Martin started a collection at Weems Elementary School, where he was a first grader. The teachers helped.

His mom held a jewelry party where shoes were the admission price.

The family also contacted AOL’s headquarters in Ashburn, Va., and asked for donations.

Within a month or so, Barbour collected $660 in cash, 741 pairs of shoes and seven single shoes.

The shoes went to Soles4Souls, which shipped them to people in need in Guatemala.

Barbour says he wants to see who received them.

“I want to see a picture.”

Now, Barbour is on to his next charitable cause. He’s collecting money for kids with cancer.

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