Michael Obacha, a sophomore forward for App State’s men’s basketball team, has started a shoe drive for children of his native country Nigeria that will officially begin accepting donations at the game against UNCG at the Holmes Convocation Center on Thursday.
Obacha asked friends and family earlier in the season to donate new or gently used shoes so that he could take them back with him to Nigeria this summer in hopes it might allow kids to play basketball.
“One of the main things I want to do is put a smile on the face of every child who gets shoes,” Obacha said in a statement from the Athletics Department. “We often take our blessings for granted, but something as simple as a new pair of shoes brings so much joy to these children and allows them to play the game they love.”
Obacha was contacted in December by former Davidson basketball player, Andrew Lovedale.
Lovedale, also a native Nigerian, started a shoe drive of his own in 2009 while playing for the Wildcats. He founded the Access 2 Success Foundation, which provides various charitable services to the people of Nigeria.
Lovedale told Obacha that he would like to support his shoe drive.
Fans are asked to donate new or gently used athletic shoes that would be suitable in size for infants to high-school-aged children to any remaining Mountaineer home games.
In exchange for each pair of shoes, fans will receive two tickets to that day’s game.
Shoes will be accepted at the northwest and southwest ticket windows.
Monetary donations to help fund the shipping of the shoes are also being accepted through the Access 2 Success Foundation website. Each pair of shoes costs $5 to ship to Nigeria, according to the statement.
The campaign’s goal is 500 pairs of shoes and $2,500 in donations.
Fans with further questions regarding the drive can contact Ryan Bower, associate sports information director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The game against UNCG begins at 7 p.m.
Story: Cory Spiers, Sports Editor
Photo courtesy of Appalachian State Athletics