7-year-old Avery Crabtree of Shawnee collects more than 400 shoes to give to needy

SHAWNEE, Kan. - Usually, a girl wants a toy or some other fun gift when she turns eight years old.

Not Avery Crabtree of Shawnee, Kan. She told her mom the other day she wanted something different.

"She said, 'how about for my next birthday, instead of presents, we write on the invitations to bring shoes to kids who don't have shoes,'" Avery's mom, Becky, said.

Avery's birthday wasn't until August, so her parents thought this would be a good time of year to collect shoes and donate them to kids who need shoes for the winter.

Avery received shoe donations from the second grade classes at Clear Creek Elementary in the De Soto School District and LifeBridge Church in Shawnee. The shoes came pouring in.

Becky and Avery on Monday afternoon brought nearly 450 pairs of shoes to City Union Mission in Kansas City, Mo. So how proud is Avery's mom of her daughter?

"Words can't even describe how proud we are of her," Becky Crabtree said.

Avery has created quite the example for her other siblings. She has three sisters. Two of them are too young to know what Avery did but her older sister is aware.

"The older sister is really excited for her," Becky said. "She thinks it's great."

Avery plans to keep on giving. She's hoping to do a shoe drive in the spring.

"She decided the other day she wanted to get people together to clean up trash around I-435," Becky said. "Her mind is always thinking of ways to improve the community."

Becky said Avery wants to have her friends still bring shoes to her birthday party next August, when Avery turns eight. So where does Avery get all of her caring ideas from?

"We talk about how fortunate they are and there are kids out there that don't have all the things they have," Becky said. "That's a hard topic to get young children to understand. She just has such a good heart. She's natural at giving.

Becky runs a photography business at home. Her husband Jeremy is the national recruiting editor for ESPN and runs their collegesports.com network.

Who knows what Avery will do someday. Could she perhaps be the mayor of a town? Whatever she does, she'll most likely touch people's lives every step of the way.

"She's a phenomenal little girl that exceeds our wildest expectations every day," Becky said.

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