When Lilly Maddox turned 9-years-old, her parents opened up their home for foster care. To Lilly’s surprise, some of the kids arrived without shoes. Wanting to help other kids who might not have shoes, she decided instead of receiving presents for her birthday, she wanted her friends and family to donate shoes so that she could ensure kids of all ages had a good pair of shoes to wear during the upcoming winter and fall months.
Edge: How did you go about asking for donations?
Lilly: We told my school’s principal about it, and she liked the idea. So we sent home a flier with students asking them to donate new or gently used shoes. I also ask my soccer team to donate each year.
Edge: What type of shoes do you accept?
Lilly: We want all sizes and types, from the smallest to adult. But we prefer tennis shoes. My birthday is in September so it doesn’t make sense to ask for flip flops.
Edge: How many pairs of shoes are donated?
Lilly: We got about 120 pairs the first year. This is our third year doing it and have close to that again.
Edge: That’s a lot of shoes! What do you do with them?
Lilly: My mom (Dasiti Maddox) has a whole spreadsheet she does that goes by size and gender. Then we divide them up and give some to Children’s Square and some to New Visions (Homeless Services).
Edge: You hold the shoe drive once a year for your birthday. Do you volunteer during other times of the year?
Lilly: My whole family started volunteering at New Visions when I was 7-years-old. We’d help with their Christmas celebration from beginning to end, with collecting toy donations in front of stores, then wrap the toys and hand them out to families.
Edge: It sounds like you really enjoying volunteering and helping others.
Lilly: I like seeing the surprises on kids’ faces when they get something new.
Dasiti Maddox: When our family began volunteering at New Visions, Lilly was one of the youngest to ever volunteer. She’s a great example of how you can start volunteering at a young age and do it as long as you can.
Lilly: There’s a volunteer bus driver at New Visions who is 105!
Dasiti: It’s heartwarming that she wants to give up her birthday every year, and makes so proud.
Lilly: The CEO of New Visions said I can take over her job when I’m older and she can move to Hawaii, so that’s what I plan to do!