We just concluded our first annual Back to School Shoe Drive for the youth in Cumberland County and we were blown away by the response! We were able to provide over 250 pairs of new and gently-worn shoes to students. We also donated about 100 pairs of shoes to our local family shelter to help support them.
The idea for our drive was created in our Innovation Hour program where we worked with local young adults and teenagers to identify their passions and bring them to reality. Participants wanted to do something for the youth before school started and wanted to make it different than the usual backpack giveaways. Their solution was to do a shoe drive so we got to work right away!
We worked together to create flyers, organize local drop-off spots, and procedures for families to request specific needs for shoes. We partnered with two local establishments, Wildflower Vegan Cafe and Integrity Barbershop, to serve as drop-off locations. Shoes were collected on a regular basis and our participants spent countless hours cleaning up the shoes to make sure they were in tip-top shape. Additionally, we raised almost $1,000 to purchase shoes to meet the needs of our community!
On Labor Day, a team of volunteers worked to deliver over 70 pairs of shoes directly to families who made requests. After our deliveries, we hosted two pop-up locations in Millville for people to come and pick up whatever shoes we had that fit their needs (and feet!). Within hours, we were out of shoes and were able to put smiles on the faces of many kids and their parents!
While this may be our first shoe drive, it will definitely not be our last! We look forward to serving even more students and their families in 2020!