Shoes for Sharing was a simple idea born in 2007 by friends in a running group at the Golden Strip YMCA, now the GHS Family YMCA.
The thought: we all had ‘good’ shoes that we were no longer wearing. Instead of letting those shoes go to waste we could find a way to get them to people in need. Runners change shoes often so we agreed to start sharing those shoes with others.
We started collecting shoes first, and then began looking for places that could put these good shoes to use. And it has evolved from there.
Since 2007, “Shoes for Sharing” has distributed over 5000 pairs of shoes in upstate South Carolina and abroad on various mission trips.
There is nothing brilliant about what we do; it’s just a basic need not always met. And we know there is a real need for shoes right here in our own community. We see it first hand.
On the list: mostly shelters, people with little who are depending on shelters or others to help get them back on their feet. This need does not discriminate, it affects virtually all groups and backgrounds. So far we’ve given shoes to South Carolina Special Olympics Athletes, Project Host Soup Kitchen, Safe Harbor, Triune Mercy Center, Emerson’s Rest, Judson Community Center, Sterling Hope Center, Pendleton Place, Miracle Hill Boys Shelter, James Monroe House, Miracle Hill Shepherds Gate, Miracle Hill Renewal Center, a few Local Schools, Turning Pointe Shelter, Marie Younts Home, Church of God Children’s Home, Crossroads Baptist Church in Brevard, NC, Camp Opportunity, Mission trips in the US and abroad: Haiti, Mexico, Kenya, Costa Rica, and more.
So why not share what we have with people with more need? If a ‘gift of a good pair of shoes’ can bring just a ray of hope into one person’s life, it’s worth it. And it’s such a simple thing to do. We don’t ask for a dime, we just want your clean well kept shoes. We can use them if you can’t. We identify a need, and deliver the shoes. This is how it works.
My wife, Suzanne, is such a blessing. On top of her regular job, she works so hard at this, has a servant’s heart and has a passion for seeing that we get shoes delivered to wherever there’s a need.
I contact these agencies and mission houses and ask them if there is a need. Usually always say yes “bring us some shoes”.
Our challenge is getting enough shoes to meet the needs here in the upstate. We have some awesome partners that collect shoes for us and serve as drop off points. But we need more partners and more good shoes. The demand for shoes is greater than what we collect. Just last week I got a call from a church in Brevard, NC with a request. We have given shoes away twice to this church in the past 15 months but it doesn’t appear that we will be able to help them this December.
Saturday we were at Conestee Park working the South Carolina Special Olympic State Fall Games and gave away close to 250 pair of shoes to the athletes. There was a huge turnout even in this cold weather, but it was great and the athletes had a ball.
We are working with Special Olympics this month and we will also be at the Soup Kitchen in December with a few others on the horizon. We will be giving away close to 500 pairs of shoes in the next 5-6 weeks.
This need for shoes is year-round, not just at Christmas.
The shoes most in demand are athletic shoes and casual shoes in great condition (all sizes for all ages).
Well kept, “good” shoe donations are accepted at the following locations:
Shoes for sharing can be found on Facebook: Facebook.com/shoesforsharing