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Despite almost 2,400 donations this year, the Kiwanis Shoes For Kids Drive is still in need and trying to meet its goal of 5,000 pairs of shoes for Charlotte County students. Pictured are shoes collected in a drive from 2016.

PORT CHARLOTTE — It's crunch time for the Sunrise Kiwanis Shoes for Kids Project in Charlotte County.

This year's project began on June 16 with the goal of collecting 5,000 pairs of shoes for kids across the county.

Currently, the group has gathered almost 2,400 with only nine days left to collect.

This is not a new trend for the drive, according to Christy Smith, the Sunrise Kiwanis Shoes for Kids project coordinator.

"It’s typical that we do a big push in the last weeks of the drive," Smith said. "Our goal is to have all of the shoes collected by the end of July so that they can be sorted and delivered to the schools early so we’re not interfering with teachers, administration and custodial (employees)."

For that reason, Sunrise Kiwanis, a local chapter of the international group focused on improving the lives of children, cannot extend their deadline.

"There are families in our community that struggle financially to meet expenses, rent, food and bills," Smith said. "When the new school year comes around, there are so many additional expenses that families must incur, so the shoes project (is one of many that can) help families on a personal level."

Smith encourages people to donate a financial gift or new shoes as part of the project.

Financial donations can be made at shoesforkidsproject.org. Shoe donation centers are also listed on the website, along with additional details about the drive.

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