Saturday, April 19, 2003

Makeover flip-flops into charity fund-raiser

By Joy Kraft
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A baby sitter's project, adopted by a savvy mom - who happens to be WKRC-TV's Kit Andrews - promises to be one of the busiest booths at the Cincinnati Flower Show's Gardener's Market.

FlopZ sandals sell for $15
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Last summer, a neighborhood college student turned a pair of rubber flip-flops belonging to Andrews' daughter, Maddy, 8, into a fashion statement with quick fingers and dozens of 1-by-7-inch colorful fabric strips knotted along the edges, giving the shoes, appropriately enough, the look of a blooming flower.

"Everywhere we went people asked where we got them," says the co-anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts and mother of three.

When flower show time approached, Andrews saw the bud of a fund-raising project to benefit All God's Children International, which does relief work in five countries, including Romania. Andrews' son Gus, 4, was adopted from Cluj in Transylvania through the group.

The sandals - called FlopZ - will sell for $15 and "all the money will go where the need is greatest," Andrews says. This could be hiring rockers for babies in orphanages; foster care for orphans; Hannah's Hope, which provides care for special needs children in a homelike setting, or the mobile dental clinic staffed by volunteers, some from Greater Cincinnati.

What: Cincinnati Flower Show, presented by Provident Bank
When: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday-next Saturday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 27.
Where: Coney Island, on the banks of Lake Como, Kellogg Avenue.
Tickets: $15 adults, $3 ages 3-12. Advance tickets ($11) through Sunday at Kroger and Provident Bank locations; by phone, 872-5194 or (800) 670-6808, or at
Miscellaneous: End-of-show sale of some props and plants will start 6 p.m. April 27.
So far, 2,000 pairs of FlopZ have been made by student volunteers at seven Catholic high schools - McAuley, Mercy, Seton, St. Ursula Academy, McNicholas, Notre Dame Academy and Holy Cross.

The project is about more than raising money, Andrews says.

"I want to plant some seeds to teach kids how fortunate they are to be born in America," she says. "I go to schools, show them pictures of Hannah's Hope and the purpose of the work. I think they are really touched by it. These schools are great at service projects."

Everything about the project has been volunteered. The sandals came from Wal-Mart; the fabrics from Banasche's, Jo-Ann Fabrics and churches; the booth was donated by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society. It's sponsored by Ethicon Industries. Volunteers, of course, will man the booth outfitted with a display made by one of Andrews' neighbors.

FlopZ come in kids-through-adult sizes.

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