Shoe Away Poverty

Official Project

The Problem

Dear Friends, Since I’ve come home from my trip to Africa, I’ve really had the chance to feel the huge difference between the life we live here in the United States and the average life that is lived in Kenya, or Africa in general. Each morning, we’d get in our little white buses that drove across the country and took us through destitute little towns, but there was something that stood out to me every single time we’d pass through. There was a great number of people walking miles to their job, shoeless. There were tons of kids running around piles of rubbish and rocks without anything to cover their feet. I remember immediately thinking about the laundry basket of flip-flops I have. Or the really handy shoe organizer my mom bought me that hangs in my closet and is crammed full with tennis shoes and flats. And then, I remember thinking how I never wear at least half of those shoes that appear to be taking over my closet. So instead of receiving gifts for my birthday, on top of everything I got for graduation, I figure I’ll do things differently. If you were planning on giving me a gift, or even if you weren’t, dig through your closet or run to the store and give me a pair of shoes instead. The only qualifications are that they have to be shoes you can imagine walking for at least 5 miles in without falling apart or getting blisters. So flip flops and tennis shoes work great. Even gently used shoes from the depths of your closet are what I want for my birthday. Also, bring shoes of all sizes. If your 3-year old brother can’t fit into his Spiderman shoes anymore, please don’t hesitate to hand them over! This shoe drive will be going on until the end of August, when I’ll ship them off to a few different people I’ve connected with in Kenya, who will then distribute them for free to those who have no shoes. This would be more than a great birthday present for me, a good chance for you to free up some closet space, but mostly it would make a long walk a lot less difficult for people in Kenya. Please help me kick off this Summer Shoe Drive by dropping off my ‘present’ in a bag at my house, or call me and I can swing by and pick it up. My cell phone number is [personal information edited out by DS staff]. Thank you. Love, Sarah

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