NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

YWCA shoe drive at NECC

Unworn and gently used shoes to go to 2 charities

On December 4 NECC sent students and faculty an email making them aware of NECC’s sponsorship of the YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts’ Shoes with Heart campaign. Starting December 5 through January 31 people are encouraged to donate their gently worn or new shoes by placing them in boxes found on both the Haverhill and Lawrence campus. For Haverhill, the locations will be in the lobby of the sports and fitness center and on the second floor of the Spurk building just outside the college bookstore. For Lawrence, the locations will be in the lobby of El Hefni and on the third floor of Riverwalk near the public safety desk.

Shoes with Heart is owned by Funds2Orgs., an organization that collects the shoes from their partners where they are then bulked and shipped to 25 developing countries around the world and resold through micro-enterprises owned by people living in poverty. The details in the email explain that the main focus of the shoe drive is,“…a hands on curriculum project for the YWCA school age program children teaching them about world poverty, charitable giving and micro business.” The children will help collect the shoes.

With events like #GivingTuesday, traditionally the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and in full swing of December “the high point of the year for charitable donations, in part due to the holiday spirit of giving.” Says Jessica Sillers, the blog author of 10 things to know before you donate. Jessica also highlights that people should research the organizations that are looking for donations and understand what they are doing with those donations.

The YWCA shoe drive contributes to two different organizations. The first being Funds2Orgs that receive payment for selling the shoes to “micro-entrepreneurs [that] purchase the shoes for pennies on the dollar, often on credit, and clean the shoes. They then sell the shoes in their communities for a profit,” according to Shoes with Heart. Funds2Orgs operates in Latin America, West Africa, Haiti and other peripheral nations. The second organization is the YWCA and depending on the weight of the shoes will receive a check from Shoes with Heart. The YWCA mission statement is “dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” The YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts division includes Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn and a summer camp located in Salem NH.

They provide emergency shelter for low income women, domestic violence and sexual assault help services and have a 24 hour rape crisis hotline.  The details in the NECC email also highlight the environmental impact of throwing away the “over 600 million pairs of shoes” a number they say belongs to the U.S. yearly. Another number that belongs ‘solely’ to the U.S. is 21.2 billion, the number of shoes imported to the U.S per year according to “Not everyone has money to spare, but most have at least one pair of shoes they can part with.” Says Wayne Elsey, CEO of Funds2Orgs.

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