Kent State student collecting shoes for kids in need

Amanda Crumm

A junior dance performance major and choreographer is trying to help those in need by setting up boxes for donations to collect shoes for kids who do not have them.

Junior Jessica Kraft, also a psychology major, is one person from Western Reserve Grace Church in Macedonia working with a group called Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that facilitates donations of shoes by groups to kids that need them, in a program they are calling “LOVE.”

Two boxes labeled “LOVE” are located in the Tri-Towers rotunda and by the dance studios in the Music and Speech Center.

“The creative brainstorm centered around trying to figure out how to help more people both locally and globally,” said Paul Gorrell, a member of the church and the director of small groups.

The church members set up donation boxes all over northeast Ohio to collect shoes. They then transport them to a Soles4Souls warehouse, where they are distributed throughout the U.S. and approximately 125 other countries.

“There are 300 million children in the world that don’t have shoes,” Kraft said, “so we set a goal to collect 100,000 shoes in six weeks for these children.”

Kraft said when the church had the meeting to tell them about the program, they started collecting.

“They wanted to set a crazy number just to prove it could be done,” she said.

Gorrell said they currently have about 12,000 pairs.

“As you can tell, we have a huge goal ahead of us,” Gorrell said. “We have plans to collect shoes through Nov. 21, and we are always looking for more drop-off locations.”

Kraft said they will take all types of shoes from dress shoes to flip flops. They are accepting new and used shoes, even if you have a pair of shoes that are falling apart, they can recycle them and use the money to buy new ones.

“You think shoes, that’s not that big of a deal,” Kraft said. “But we learn there are soil transmitted diseases, and people can be disfigured, people can never walk again, and I think some can be fatal maybe, so it’s an important problem.”

For anyone that does not have shoes to donate but would still like to help in some way, the church is accepting monetary donations as well, which they will use to buy shoes, according to its website.

“Anything is better than nothing to give and could mean so much to someone with nothing,” Kraft said. “The littlest help goes a long way.”

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].