Think about all the shoes you probably own. How many of them do you actually wear? If you’ve been waiting for a reason to get rid of some of your old shoes, this is it.
Don’t just trash them. Donate them!
For the fourth consecutive year, The Iona Group and Float, in partnership with St. Ann’s WATCH program, are co-sponsoring a shoe drive from August 1-31 throughout central Illinois. Drop-off locations are primarily located in Morton or Peoria, but check to see if any of the more than 75 locations are located near you.
The drive will benefit WaterStep, a nonprofit based out of Louisville, Ky., that helps save lives with safe water. Believe it or not, more than 1 out of every 10 people on this earth lack access to safe water. That’s nearly 750 million people, according to a 2014 study released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. WaterStep is trying to spread safe water through one person, one family, and one community at a time.
Since 2012, we have donated nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes to WaterStep with your help. This year, our goal is to collect and haul away 30,000 pairs of shoes.
This shoe drives benefits every single person involved. Here are five reasons why donating your shoes makes a difference.
1. Get rid of your clunkers.
Free up space in your home by getting rid of that old pair of shoes you’ve had for far too long. No matter what condition your shoes are in, you can donate them. And if you lost a shoe? It doesn’t matter. Feel free to donate that sole shoe, too (get it?). Shoes are just a starting point. You can also donate sandals, boots, heels, and anything else you put on your feet to ride your bike, mow your lawn, complement your working clothes, and more.
2. Go shopping for new shoes.
Use this shoe drive as an excuse to treat yourself. Once you get rid of your old pair of shoes, you’ll likely want to replace them with a new pair, right? Take advantage of that coupon that just came through your mailbox or your inbox and get yourself some fresh kicks.
3. Help provide funding for safe water equipment and training.
“So,” you might be asking yourself, “how does donating shoes actually help to solve the planet’s water problems?”
When you donate your shoes to one of these drop-off locations, WaterStep then sells them to an exporter. WaterStep uses that money to develop projects that include water filters and water transportation or chlorination systems, repair wells, and to educate communities about the benefits of safe water.
4. Support local businesses.
When the exporter buys shoes from WaterStep, those shoes then turned around and sold to merchants from all over the world. The merchants then take shoes back to their own regions and sell them to support both their local economies and their families. WaterStep has shared with the team how some merchants make monthly visits to the exporter, buying enough shoes to take back and sell at home before starting their process over again.
5. Prevent abrasions and health hazards.
As you might imagine, many regions of the world are not as developed as the United States. Feet can be damaged in many ways – from traversing rugged terrain to debris strewn about the land to stepping on a bee – and the resulting wounds could get infected. A scratch similar to what our children may encounter on the playground could cause serious injury or even death to those in less fortunate places because they didn’t have the proper footwear. By selling these shoes in their homeland, merchants help prevent these types of injuries from happening.
You can make a difference. All you need to do is donate your old shoes.