West Palm Beach girl asking for shoes to send to Haiti instead of birthday presents

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFL) - Ellie Schartner just turned 7 on Sunday.

At her birthday party, she asked that guests bring her new or gently used shoes that will then be taken to Haiti. "I want to give the shoes because a lot of people don't even have one pair of shoes," she says.

She already has received more than 50 pairs of shoes.

The young girl's parents, Jenny and Luke Schartner, visit Haiti several times a year. They started traveling to the island after the 2010 earthquake. "It was really hard to see all these people living in tents. No food, no clothes, no shelter," Jenny says.

Jenny and her husband also saw a lot of orphans during their trips to Haiti. "Just very common to see malnourished, poor children everywhere," she says.

The couple frequently visit Wholehearted Orphanage when they visit Haiti. "The people that we've met there have really inspired our life here."

The couple was so inspired by the country and its people that they adopted a baby in the United States.

Jenny is a professional photographer and has taken many pictures during her trips to Haiti.

Her daughter, Ellie, saw the pictures and realized she needed to help. "I have so many toys already," Ellie says.

So instead of toys, Ellie is asking for donated shoes for feet of all sizes, from toddler sizes to adults.

The shoes are asked to be new or gently used, with thick soles to handle the rocky terrain of Haiti.

The donated shoes can be dropped off at the bookstore at Berean Baptist Church, located at 8350 Okeechobee Boulevard in West Palm Beach.

The shoes will be collected through Thursday, February 12.

They will be taken to Haiti during the couple's next trip in March.

Copyright 2015 WFLX. All Rights Reserved.