October 12, 2011

Combined Fund Drive gathers shoes for charity

Shoes are a necessity, not an afterthought. Thats why Mindy Kornberg, UW vice president for human resources, has organized a drive to gather new and gently used shoes from the campus community to give to the homeless and others in need. It started Oct. 12 and runs through Nov. 4.

Mindy Kornberg hopes everyone will give a pair of shoes for those less fortunate.

Mary Levin

Mindy Kornberg hopes everyone will give a pair of shoes for those less fortunate.

Its all part of the 2011 Combined Fund Drive, Washington states workplace giving campaign, which runs through Dec. 2. This years drive at the UW is looking to meet or beat last years total of $2,044,404.

The shoes will go to Redeeming Soles, a Seattle-based nonprofit that provides new and gently used shoes to agencies serving the homeless and others in need. According to an excellent July 2011 article in the newspaper Real Change, Redeeming Soles had redistributed more than 5,600 shoes in its first nine months of existence in 2010 and 2011, and is holding a big Shoe Harvest throughout October.

Kornberg was impressed with the story of Scott Sowle, executive director of Redeeming Soles, who after years of jobless — and often shoeless — wandering dedicated himself to providing footwear for others.

“Many underprivileged adults and children are stuck with ill-fitting shoes, or they have no shoes at all,” Kornberg wrote in an email. “While many of us would think of donating gently used coats, or clothes, most of us dont think about shoes.

“Redeeming Soles provides footwear for all in need throughout the Puget Sound. Together, we are holding a Shoe Harvest on campus. Bins will be at various locations across campus for staff to donate their gently used shoes.”

Collection bins will be at the following locations:

  • Condon Hall, first floor
  • Health Sciences lobby and rotunda
  • Kane Hall, Classroom Support Services, in the basement
  • Plant Services Building, second floor
  • UW Tower, Sky Bridge lobby on second floor and fourth floor café.

Larger-sized mens and womens shoes are particularly needed, Kornberg said. Any unusable shoes gathered will go to Goodwill to be made into playground material.

Kornberg sponsored a successful sock drive in 2007 and thought this would be another good way to assist the low-income and homeless. Light-hearted enough to pose for a photo loaded down with socks back then, she sat bedecked with shoes for this years shot — and resisted the temptation to lace her comments with shoe puns — mostly, that is.

“Together we can help meet an important area of need,” she said. “So, be a good sole and give a pair of shoes.”