Texas teen uses bar mitzvah money to buy shoes for 800 children

The El Paso teenager received $25,000 in gifts, spending all of it on shoes and socks to donate to an elementary school.
By Stephen Feller  |  Nov. 28, 2016 at 2:19 AM
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EL PASO, Texas, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- An El Paso teenager received $25,000 in gifts at his bar mitzvah, and decided to spend all of it on sneakers and socks to donate to a local elementary school because he wanted to "give back."

Instead of gifts for himself at his bar mitzvah, 13-year-old Drew Frank created "Drew's Sneaker Give-Away" -- complete with the tagline #JustDrewIt -- and raised enough money to buy 800 pairs of Nike sneakers and 800 pairs of socks, giving them to an elementary school and other children who may not be able to afford a brand new, squeaky-clean pair of kicks.

Frank and his parents worked with the Braden Aboud Foundation to buy and deliver the shoes and socks, earmarking 400 for students at Beall Elementary School and the other 400 for an orphanage and YWCA transitional living center for women and children.

"I'm giving sneakers to these kids who may otherwise not have new sneakers," Frank said. "They just get shoes that have been passed down from generation to generation. I just wanted to give back to these kids who are less fortunate than me."

Frank came up with the idea to raise money for shoes for children as his bar mitzvah project, a requirement to perform some type of service to benefit the community as part of the Jewish tradition of passing from childhood to adulthood.

"When I was thinking of an idea to work on for my bar mitzvah, I wanted to do a project that was involved with something I enjoyed and liked a lot -- and I have a passion for sneakers," Frank said.

Frank worked with the foundation, a nonprofit organization promotes health and educational growth of children in the El Paso area, and partners with people and groups regularly to set up shoe giveaways for people who need them.

The group has considered buying and donating less expensive shoes than Nikes but they've found the brand is a big deal. "There's something special about Nike, and the kids deserve something special," said foundation volunteer Amy Marcus.

"Drew and his family approached us about doing something together," said Cindi Aboud, founder of the organization. "My hope is that our foundation will be able to one day get the sponsorship of Nike or another big shoe retailer to partner with us so we can buy more shoes."

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