Local teen thinking outside the shoebox

Southridge Senior Brandy Small thinks big; she recently started a shoe drive in Huntingburg to collect used shoes for the organization Soles4Souls.

Not everyone can afford a pair of new shoe and this non-profit organization facilitates delivery of shoes to impoverished areas in 127 countries, including within the U.S. Many shoes lay idle in closets and to avoid sending them to landfills, Small decided to collect them to send to people in need.

Brandi Small with some of the shoes that have been donated so far.

Brandy said she usually worries about taking care of herself and she wanted to do something beyond herself and work. Brandy is also involved with color guard, dance team, all-state choir, jazz choir and yearbook. “I have to work,” Small says. “I am responsible for everything extracurricular, car insurance, gas, and some meals.

But that didn’t stop her from getting involved with the charitable group. “I needed a lift.” She said. “I wanted to offset negative things in my life by doing something positive to help other people.”

“I know people who have 20 pairs of shoes and they may wear five pair, so I wanted to find a better use for the unused pairs.”

Any old shoe will do. Flip-flops, tennis shoes, sandals or dress shoes. Shoes with laces must have laces included. As long as the sole of the shoe is intact, the shoe can be donated or sold to be refurbished into a new shoe.

These well-worn shoes are sold to micro-enterprise organizations; local entrepreneurs in developing countries that turn what we consider trash-worthy shoes into affordable shoes for people that need them. In the process they earn income for families who may not have any other income source.

“If I collect 10 pairs of shoes, that would help 10 people get to work, to school or to a job interview,” Brandy says.

To start the shoe drive, Small simply had to fill out a form from the organization’s website using the school’s credentials. Now four Huntingburg locations have shoe drive boxes– Southridge Middle and High School and two businesses on Fourth Street–five industrial trash bags full of shoes have been collected so far.

Brandy is also responsible for sending shoes to the Soles4Souls warehouse. She plans to fundraise to pay for shipping costs.  She also asks people to donate $2 along with their used shoes.

“I want to wait to see how many shoes I receive and how much it will cost to send them.”

The two businesses on Fourth Street, Game Knight and Old School Café’ have offered money for shipping and a donation bucket has been made available to cover the shipping costs.

The drive will continue until December 21, but Brandy said she will continue to take shoes after that day.

Brandy said it may sound corny but she would rather give than receive and she plans to continue helping people by becoming a journalist.

“There’s no possession that can gratify you more then helping people,”

[button link=”https://www.facebook.com/events/272271122808955/” window=”yes”]Brandy’s Soles4Souls Facebook page[/button]

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