High school student recognized for charity that collects shoes

- A book bag filled with shoes isn't something most people would notice. Olivia Russo-Hood has been collecting as many shoes as she can, and she's been doing it since 5th grade.

"In certain countries, you’re not allowed to go to school if you don't have a pair of shoes on your feet," she said.  "Three-hundred million pairs of shoes end up in U.S. landfills alone each year, but 300 million people don't have shoes."

It's stats like those that motivated Olivia.

"I believe we're going to get 100 pairs of shoes, and by Christmas Day, we collected over 1,500 pairs of shoes."

That's how it started. Six years ago this week, Olivia says she started ‘Save The Earth Projects,’ or STEP, after flooding left her homeless.

"It rose to, I believe, 20 feet of water, and a lot of people were displaced from their homes -- my family being one of them."

Olivia wanted to help others the same way her family was helped, when they had nothing.  She teamed up with Community Recycling out of Philadelphia, and six years later? 

"We’re close to 40,000 pairs of shoes.  We collect in the U.S., in the territories, U.K., Australia, Singapore," she said. "For every pound of shoes -- just about -- we're able to donate 50 cents to a charity of my choice."

Her success has been noticed by both President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, and in November, she is will receive another major round of recognition, when she accepts the Indianapolis Children's Museum Power of Children Award.

"I'll be in an exhibit with Ryan White, Ruby Bridges, & Ann Frank, which is astounding."

Olivia will also receive a $2,000 scholarship. Click here to donate shoes.

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