Brandy and Emma Lasater don't have a shortage of shoes inside their home. The mom and daughter have more than 8,000 pairs to be exact.
"I never knew shoes could make me cry, but they do," Brandy said.
The family has been collecting shoes to raise money to get 13-year-old Emma a service dog. Emma has a genetic condition that mimics strokes and the dog would alert her before an episode hit. It will cost the family $19,000, so they turned to a creative fundraising source.
"We wanted to help people, while we help Emma," Brandy said.
The shoes they collect will be picked up by Funds2Orgs, a company that pays families 40 cents for every pound of shoes and then sends them overseas. It's actually a "micro loan" concept where the company loans men and women the shoes, so they can sell them and create business and income of their own.
"It's pretty cool," Emma said.
Emma dreams of being an actress, singer and veterinarian when she grows up. The teenager says the service dog will help her pursue those dreams and goals with confidence.
Businesses, friends and strangers all over Mansfield have adopted the cause as their own. Neighbors drop off bags throughout the day, and different stores have boxes where people can donate. There is even a bar in Arlington where customers get a free shot if they donate a pair of shoes.
"I know a lot of people walked out of there barefoot," Brandy said.
It's not just North Texas. They've received donations from Missouri, Colorado and Mississippi. But one bag of shoes sticks out for the mom and daughter.
"My friend's daughter was murdered last year, and she gave us a bag of shoes. It's the first thing she's parted with of hers. She wanted to honor her memory and help Emma," Brandy said.
Here are some locations:
Gate Precast Company
200 Park Place
Azle, TX 76020
Whistle Stop, Crawford
101 N 1st St.
Bangs, TX 76823
Blackacre Title Company
100 W. Central Texas
Expressway Ste. 311
Harker Heights, TX
Waco Vision Center
5201 Bosque Blvd #220
Waco, TX 76710
The LASIK Vision Institute
Mark boxes with
"4 Paws for Ability Brandy Lasater”
C/O CE Logistics
1080 Woodcock Rd
Orlando, FL 32803