Eighty-six boxes containing 1,420 pairs of shoes were donated during the new and used shoe drive hosted by McIntyre Library and the Student Office of Sustainability for the non-profit organization, Soles4Souls.
The drive was started at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in honor of Earth Week, so McIntyre Library kept the process as green as possible throughout the entire collection campaign. All of the shoes were packed for transport to the drop off site up using recycled boxes. Ragstock clothing store, located in Eau Claire’s Oakwood Mall, donated the majority of the boxes, but many were also collected for use by the University’s custodial staff. In addition to using recycled boxes, all of the containers used by donors to drop off their shoes, including plastic bags, were reused or recycled. Hundreds of plastic bags were collected and recycled with the Festival Foods Bags for Benches program.
“It was amazing to see the community connections during the whole process,” said Jenna Vande Zande, Library Services Assistant and organizer of the shoe drive. “From day one of the drive, I started fielding phone calls, emails, and donations from people who wanted to contribute. We received donations from all over the Chippewa Valley, so it really became a robust community event that will directly impact other communities around the United States and the globe.”
McIntyre Library would like to extend a huge thank you to the Student Office of Sustainability for their sponsorship, and to everyone who donated shoes and contributed to the success of the drive.
Soles4Souls disrupts the cycle of poverty by creating sustainable jobs and providing relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, the organization repurposes product to supply its micro-enterprise, disaster relief and direct assistance programs. Since 2006, it has distributed more than 30 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries. A nonprofit social enterprise, Soles4Souls earns more than half of its income and commits 100% of donations to programs.