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'My little girl never had the chance to make her mark on this world': Houston County girl remembered with shoe drive

On Nov. 21, they’re holding a shoe-drive kick-off event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Foundation Academy at 2157 Houston Lake Road in Perry.

HOUSTON COUNTY, Ga. — For the Keen family, July 15 was one of the hardest days of their lives.

Ellie Grace Keen was 18-months-old -- she died due to unknown circumstances.

According to the family, doctors deemed it sudden unexplained infant death (SUID). Ellie has a twin brother, Eli, and an older sister, Lilly.  

"I found our daughter unresponsive in her crib, I thought she was asleep" Ellie’s mother, Krista, said. 

Krista said her daughter was fascinated with shoes.

RELATED: 'I’m able to honor her and her love for shoes': Houston County girl remembered with shoe drive

"She loved shoes so much that she would hide them, she would play with the shoelaces, she would actually know which shoes went on which kid at her daycare," she said.

With support from family and friends, the Keen family came up with an idea.

They teamed up with Foster Family Support in Middle Georgia to collect shoes and socks for foster kids.

Brandi Brock is the director of the organization.

"If there's anything we can do to help that grieving family. You know, we want to do it, especially with such a great memorial, something that relates to something we're passionate about, which is foster care. We're really excited about all the shoes and all the kids will get to serve with it," Brock said.

Ellie's dad, Todd, says this is their way to give back and honor baby Ellie.

"Because my little girl never had the chance to make her mark on this world. And I think that would do it, through us helping other people that need help," he said.

On Nov. 21, they’re holding a shoe-drive kick-off event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Foundation Academy at 2157 Houston Lake Road in Perry.

There will be yoga classes, bounce houses, face painting, and food trucks.

If you're unable to attend the event, you can donate shoes until Dec. 11.

Donation drop-off locations are located at the Advanced Eyecare Center in Perry, Hello Beautiful Salon in Perry, Homegrown Yoga in Warner Robins, and Convenient Care in Perry, Byron, and Fort Valley.

You can also donate via Amazon wish list. For more information or questions, email shoes4ellie@gmail.com.