From Hallmark to Haiti - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Topstory

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From Hallmark to Haiti

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Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010 12:00 am

When Debbie Wrigley was browsing through the sidewalk sale at Millie’s Hallmark, she expected to find a few gifts for her grandchildren. Instead she found bargain-priced shoes and T-shirts to send to children in Haiti.

“The Crocs shoes were on sale for 90 percent off, and I felt bad leaving with just a few pairs for my grandchildren,” Wrigley said. “I started thinking about what I could do with all of the shoes, and I know that Haiti is in the most need.”

Wrigley took all of the Crocs to the register to pay for them, but when she told Millie’s cashier Judy McLaughlin what she planned to do with the shoes, McLaughlin decided to involve Millie’s owner Don Crabtree.

Crabtree decided to give Wrigley the Crocs, and he threw in some children’s T-shirts as well.

“When Debbie told us what she wanted to do with the Crocs it was an easy decision to make,” Crabtree said. “She had a wonderful idea, and it was a win-win situation for everyone because we had some merchandise we wanted to move.”

Crabtree found that once the decision was made to donate the merchandise, his employees were willing to pitch in and help.

“I know that Don has a big heart, and we’ve done things like this over the years,” said McLaughlin, a cashier at Millie’s. “Millie’s has been here for 30 years, and it’s an icon in Ahwatukee.”

After leaving Millie’s with the merchandise, Wrigley decided to get her friends involved in the donation process.

“We had a get-together, and Debbie brought over the big bags of Crocs, T-shirts and a big box of Jibbitz, which are little things put into the Crocs to decorate them for children,” said Kathy Scheib, a friend of Wrigley’s. “We all got a little emotional when Debbie told us what she was doing, and we ended up decorating those Crocs until our fingers hurt.”

Wrigley and several of her friends are flight attendants for Southwest Airlines, and the airline is affiliated with the nonprofit organization Soles 4 Souls. The group provides children in need with shoes, and Southwest has planned a flight carrying supplies to go to Haiti in March.

“When the flight goes to Haiti, these shoes will go directly to Soles 4 Souls,” Wrigley said.

The 20 pairs of Crocs and T-shirts are a good start for Wrigley, but she is looking for other local retailers to donate to the cause.

“Any store that sells children’s clothing or shoes would be ideal,” Wrigley said. “If they donate it to me I will ensure that Southwest gets the merchandise and it reaches the children in Haiti.”

If interested in donating, contact Wrigley at (602) 705-2915. For more information about Soles for Souls, visit www.soles4souls.org.

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