Shoe Drive Fundraiser supports local clean-up efforts, developing nations in need
COLUMBIA (WOLO): Keep the Midlands Beautiful is on a mission to raise money and encourage South Carolinians to untie their sneakers and donate them to a good cause. Since beginning their Shoe Drive Fundraiser April 1st, shoes are already piling up across the Midlands.
“We collected over 3,400 pairs of shoes last year, and our goal this year is 4,000 pairs,” said Core Programs Administrator, Laura Blake-Orr.
But now instead of in landfills, they’re in 22 donation bins across the Midlands, ready to find a new home through a program called Funds2Orgs.
“When you donate the shoes, they are number 1 staying out of a landfill, we’re getting to recycle them. Not only that, but we use the funds that we receive from that program to buy our grabbers and our gloves for our groups that pickup in the Midlands,” explains KMB intern, Emma Gerraughty.
The gently worn, used, or new shoes of any style or size collected are then sent to developing countries around the world to support small business owners and the local economies.
“These are not your typical stores, brick and mortar stores. A lot of these vendors are street corner operations where they’re basically selling the shoes at a discount, but it’s providing income for that vendor’s families,” says Blake-Orr.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average american produces about 5 pounds of daily waste, and about 70 percent of waste in landfills is textiles.
“Textiles meaning shoes and clothing, and blankets, and carpet, and all the things that are manufactured for our lifestyle here in the states. We are throwing away that could be put to use in other countries.”
Now until June 30th you can help make a difference here in the Midlands and around the world.
“It’s really a win-win for everybody. You get to clean out your closets, donate your shoes, and we get money as well, and so do people who really need the help,” said Gerraughty.
“It makes you appreciate what you have here and how little people have in other countries, but yet they’re so grateful for what we give them. We’re saving the environment, we’re supporting our mission here locally, and we’re supporting families throughout the world.”
For a list of donation sites, visit kmbsc.org.