While hosting a tag sale, Daphne Chimbel noticed a young boy eyeing some soccer equipment. He asked his father if he could have it, but he only had $5 in his wallet.
Daphne, a freshman at Highland Park High School at the time, felt bad for the kid, so she gave him the gear. That day inspired her to start Cleats for Hope.
“His dad said to just pick one item, and I felt bad because if it was me, I could just go to the store and get all the items, and it wouldn’t even matter,” Daphne said. “But for them, he could only get one item at a tag sale, so I wanted to do something about it for a bunch of kids.”
Daphne, who is now a senior, operates the charity with her sister, Cooper. To raise awareness, the sisters passed out flyers and sometimes went door-to-door in their community, asking for donations of athletic shoes. Daphne said her organization has three give-away events per year.
“Throughout the four years, we’ve probably had over 500 pairs [donated],” she said. “I think the most we’ve had at one time, like for one event, would probably be like 115 pairs.”
The sisters researched underprivileged areas of Dallas to hold giveaways, and got started at Marcus Park Recreation Center, near Webb Chapel Road and Royal Lane.
“We went to a main part of that community, like where a lot of the kids go after school who can’t afford to be on a team,” Daphne said.
Her organization gives out more than just cleats. She also looks for schools in need of other athletic shoes.
Back in February, she began a fundraiser at West Dallas Community School, hoping to raise enough money to purchase 31 pairs of new shoes for the school’s volleyball team.
“We just raised the shoes; we didn’t raise much money,” she said. “But we got enough shoes for the team.”
Pamela Kripke, Daphne’s mother, provided advice on logistics, getting the word out, and contacting people at various community centers.
“Daphne has always had a keen sense of fairness, since she was little,” Kripke said. “She gave away the bigger part of the cookie in preschool. As she’s gotten older, I’ve watched this turn into real altruism for people who are less fortunate. She worked this past summer with profoundly disabled kids, and the first thing she did when she returned was to call a local facility and arrange to volunteer. The little boy at the tag sale really affected her and her sister, so we talked about how they could help more kids like him.”
Daphne, who is set to graduate in May, said she’ll likely let Cooper take over Cleats for Hope when she leaves for college. Cooper, who is a junior at the Shelton School, said after four years of assisting her sister, she’s ready to run things on her own.
“I know how it works now, and I feel comfortable [running this] by myself,” she said.
(This story is from the May issue of Park Cities People, on stands now.)