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Join our Shoe Crew!

If there’s anything our volunteers have proven this year, it’s that they can be innovative with the current world environment, and still have successful shoe drives. Hosts of shoe drives have set up no-contact drop-off sites and engaged their communities online in ways to participate. Among the most impressive of our volunteers during this time, have been our younger advocates. 

For years, younger volunteers have engaged with Soles4Souls and been some of the strongest supporters engaging their communities to donate shoes. Over the last 5 years, Layken, 16, and her brother Kelton Sanders have collected 100,000 pairs of shoes for Soles4Souls. Now, Layken is helping other volunteers who are starting their first shoe drives on monthly Zoom calls. The group, the Shoe Crew, consists of members high school age and younger. Layken and others have shared their experiences getting to travel and meet Soles4Souls’ entrepreneurs, and have walked new members through any questions they have while starting their own drives. 

“We wanted our younger volunteers, who collect all across the country, to be able to exchange ideas and share advice on what has worked best for them,” says Emory Dinner, Director of Colorado Operations. 

On the most recent call, three new members from New Jersey– Jamie Porigow, Nicki Depalma and Lauren Belcuore, shared how they are combining their project on decorating old shoes with donating to Soles4Souls. Instead of simply donating the gently used shoes they collect in their community, they’re taking it a step further by cleaning and decorating the shoes to make them look more appealing again.

“We all were thinking ‘how can we help? What could we do and also continue on even after the pandemic?’ We all enjoy drawing and arts and crafts and wanted to do more than just donating the shoes. So, we just started drawing designs [on them]. It feels more personal,” says Nikki.

From involving classmates at school to sports teams, and beyond, the group has connected in numerous ways on how they can further their impact in their own communities. 

If you, a family member, or friend are looking to get more engaged, collaborate and connect with individuals making an impact through Soles4Souls, apply for our Sole Tribe. Sole Tribe ambassadors are enthusiastic and dedicated supporters who are passionate about our mission and excited to share advice about the work they are doing. Sole Tribe members that are high school-aged and younger will have the opportunity to join in the monthly Shoe Crew calls and connect online. Join here.