BRANSON, Mo. – The Titanic Museums of Branson and Pigeon Forge are giving back to the community while honoring children in 2023.
There were 135 children on board the RMS Titanic when it went down on April 15, 1912 after striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic Ocean. The Branson museum features a blouse and shoes worn by children who were aboard the ship.
Founder and owner of Titanic Museum Attractions Mary Kellogg says the shoes gave her the idea for a new campaign called Titanic Shoes for Kids.
“We began identifying how we could give back to the community,” Kellogg told The Heartlander. “We’ve been in Branson for over 17 years. Now it’s time to make a big statement that we want to give back to the children of today.”
Thus, Kellogg and her museum have partnered with Samaritan’s Feet to distribute shoes to children at the Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks.
Since its beginning in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet has distributed 9 million pairs of shoes to children around the world. In its two-year commitment to the new campaign, Titanic Museum has given away 1,000 pairs between its Branson and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee locations alone.
“With Samaritan’s Feet, they have guided us on how to do this,” Titanic Museum Attractions Training and Development Coordinator Jamie Terrell told Branson Tri-Lakes News in an interview. “With Titanic’s help this year, Samaritan’s Feet is hoping to reach the 10 million pairs of shoes mark.”
To distribute the shoes to local children, Kellogg and her crewmates recently took a trip to the Branson area’s Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks dressed in their finest Titanic garb. Crew members also gave away backpacks, socks and cards with messages of hope written inside.
Children also visited the “My Dream Is” wall to write their future goals and to sign their name.
Kellogg recalls the moment one young girl mentioned her desire to become a firefighter. Kellogg kindly suggested the girl could become a fire chief or anything else she wanted to be. The museum founder says the little girl’s eyes lit up with excitement upon the suggestion.
“I’m hoping I can get all the community involved to help me do more,” Kellogg said. “That takes a lot of people to make it happen. There are already so many people that do so much more than I do. Please join us. Let’s help (because) life is tough right now. The word kindness couldn’t be any bigger than it is today. If our hearts are full, then our kindness comes with much gratitude.”
For those interested in donating to the Titanic Shoes for Kids campaign, visit the website or Samaritan’s Feet. Kellogg says all proceeds go toward the distribution of shoes, and not the museum itself.