Posted on Dec 07, 2021
On Nov. 21 Plano West Rotary Club (PWRC) club wrapped up its Fall 2021 Shoe Drive. Led by club members Julia Lin and Snehal Gudadhe, a total of 39 volunteers met on six different occasions from September through November to complete the project.
During the Shoe Drive, our club collected pairs of shoes that will be sold to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries for an extremely low cost. These small business owners can then resell the shoes at a profit to make a living wage to support themselves and their families. PWRC donates the money received by the sales to The Rotary Foundation, which allows our club to be eligible for district grants that in turn help us do more good deeds here in Plano.
The Rotary Areas of Focus impacted by the Shoe Drive were growing local economies, protecting the environment and supporting education. We help grow the economies where the micro-entrepreneurs reside by providing them with a product to sell at a healthy profit. We help protect the environment by keeping previously worn shoes out of landfills. And we support education when The Rotary Foundation district grants we receive help fund our club’s scholarships to local students.
During the two months of the Shoe Drive, a large bin was set up at the Sam Johnson Recreation Center in Plano where residents could donate gently used or new shoes of any size. Club member Glen Thornton regularly assisted with collecting the shoes and then delivering them to the club’s storage shed on 18th Street before each Saturday morning service date for sorting.
Rotarians Fred Bemenderfer, Jennifer Shertzer, Kayla Stovall and Mehr Hakim assisted in the efforts, as well as a number of community volunteers that included local teenagers. Volunteers sorted the donated shoes, matched them into pairs, rubber-banded them together and then assembled 25 pairs per garbage bag. Volunteers also discarded trash and broke down boxes for recycling.
Altogether, the volunteers served a total of 74 hours and donated 1,252 pairs of shoes.
One of the project’s organizers, Julia Lin, spoke about the importance of the Shoe Drive. “This project was especially meaningful for me because I helped run it last year. It's amazing to see the community come together for this simple yet impactful project. We clean our own closets, help support micro-enterprises in developing countries and reinvest in our local community. It feels great to hit different levels of our world,” she said.
Although the Shoe Drive is wrapped up for this year, anyone interested in making a positive difference – locally and globally – can volunteer with PWRC. Non-Rotarians are always welcome to serve with us. Find future service opportunities here.