Shoe drive changes lives around Indy


Photo by Grace Mossing.

Senior Julia Garrison donates a pair of shoes at the CCA entrance in a “shoe box” made by students in Students in Action.

Grace Mossing, Reporter

Throughout the week of Dec. 10 to 14, there will be a spirit week for the shoe drive held at FHS: Monday is pajama day, Tuesday is beach day, Wednesday is formal day, Thursday is jersey day and Friday is crazy sock day. Each day lines up with a type of shoe that can be donated.

The shoe drive, which Students in Action (SIA) organized, came from the ideas of several cross country runners who had a bunch of old running shoes they wanted to donate.

“We’re working with Changing Footprints, which is a non-profit that gives shoes to people across Indiana and even around the world,” SIA co-CEO senior Claire Schnefke said.

The shoes collected will be sent to Changing Footprints, where they will organize the shoes by style and size.

“A neat thing about Changing Footprints is they use every shoe that is donated,” SIA co-CEO senior Grace May said. “From running shoes to high heels, the organization finds a use for every shoe.”

About 80 percent of the shoes will stay local and go places such as Marion County and downtown Indianapolis. The other 20 percent go to mission trips around the world and other places in the U.S. where natural disasters have hit. The shoes that are in unusable condition go to Nike who grinds them up to make playground equipment.

“It’s really helpful to the people,”Schnefke said. “They’re good when homeless people try and interview for jobs. Some of the fancier shoes go to prom for people who can’t afford dresses. They also can’t afford the shoes that go with it.”

A volunteer from Changing Footprints, Brad Jackson, became a part of the organization after retiring from teaching.

“Changing Footprints helps people in the community, especially young people, understand that needs exist in our community, our area, our nation and in foreign countries,” Jackson said. “It gives them a very personal way to contribute directly to helping alleviate that need.”

Last year the organization collected 60,000 pairs of shoes through six different Changing Footprints locations in North Indianapolis, Rushville, Greenwood, Southport, Avon and Fort Wayne.

Students are encouraged to actively participate in the donation of the shoes from the shoe drive. With Changing Footprints, students count and sort pairs of shoes as they bag them and prepare them for shipment.

This shoe drive is not just school wide but conference wide. SIA organized a conference with a small group of leaders coming from each school in the Hoosier Crossroads Conference. There they taught the other schools how they could run the shoe drive at their own schools. The drives are starting off next week with the basketball games between other schools in the conference.

“For the basketball game on Friday, the coaches will not be wearing shoes during the game,”May said. “Any students that come to the game are encouraged to not wear shoes as well to help raise awareness for our cause.”

Students can donate shoes in cardboard boxes shaped like shoes at the CCA entrance, FH6 or in the library. All shoes are accepted.

“Next week bring in shoes to donate,” Schnefke said. “Shoes can be in any condition and any kind of shoe. Also, it’s a good idea to dress up and raise awareness about the shoe drive.”