Cuenca children’s shoe and school supply drive nears its goal but needs a final push from the expat community

Jun 8, 2013

Cuenca’s school children need a little help from expats.

The Hearts of Gold Foundation is closing in on its goal of providing 123 Cuenca children from underprivileged homes with shoes and school supplies before the start of the new school year in September.

“We’re close to our goal of collecting $6,150 and are making one last big push to reach it by Tuesday, June 11,” says Michelle Hartwell, Hearts of Gold executive director. “We would like to end it with a bang, possibly even exceeding our goal of 123 children.”

The objective is to provide $50 per child, according to Hartwell. The money will buy each child two pairs of shoes as well as basic schools supplies.

In 2012, the Hearts of Gold campaign collected $1,400 and provided shoes for 73 children. This year, says Hartwell, Hearts of Gold has added school supplies to the campaign. Next week’s deadline allows time for ordering and prepaying for shoes and supplies, she says.

So far, says Hartwell, donations have been made ranging from $10 to $1,000, with some donors contributing more than once. “Every donation is important and every donation counts,” she says, adding: "and 100% of money we collect goes to the project." Hearts of Gold is partnering with local organizations CETAP Lucy, El Arenal Foundation and the Antonio Valdivieso Orphanage in the project.

In addition to the school children campaign, Hearts of Gold provides resources for projects to promote education and to break the cycle of poverty, collaborating with other organizations in Cuenca and throughout Ecuador.

Donations to the shoe and school supply drive can be made at the Hearts of Gold website, or can be dropped off at Bananas Café, Carolina Bookstore, California Kitchen and La Joya Thai Restaurant.

For more information about the Hearts of Gold Foundation and its projects, write Michelle Hartwell at