Shoes and shoeboxes to save others

Clean water and Christmas presents for third-world countries might be hiding in a closet at your home and one Northern Kentucky University student organization wants you to take a look.

Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) says their organization can use old pairs of shoes to raise money in order to provide water-cleaning technology across the world, and they can use old shoeboxes to send Christmas gifts to disadvantaged children. BCM hopes to collect more than 1,000 pounds of old shoes and several shoeboxes through two separate programs designed to help others internationally.

Donations can be taken to the Baptist Student Union on campus. As of late October, the group had already collected about 750 pounds and was considering expanding its goal, according to BCM member Jordan Holden.

Edge Outreach, an outreach program based in Louisville, has been a long-standing project for the BCM which provides clean water technology in places of need. Edge Outreach has partnered with Shoeman Water Projects, which will take the new and used shoes and give them “a second life.” Then, the shoes will be given to retailers in the developing world, providing an affordable and life-saving option to people to avoid foot injuries and parasites. Through the partnership, the Shoeman will make a donation from the shoes collected to Edge Outreach to fund clean water alternatives.

Do not worry if an old pair of shoes appears to be beyond resurrection, though; the group takes those shoes and recycles them for cash.

If a sufficient number of shoes are donated, the Shoeman has agreed to donate $500,000 to Edge Outreach.

“Could you imagine the impact $500,000 could have on the lives of those that do not have access to clean water,” said BCM campus minister Brian Combs in an e-mail to supporters. “In addition, the shoes collected are distributed to people in other countries that need them. Many of them resell the shoes as their primary means of income. So, not only does the clean water help people, but the shoes provide an income for people.”

That donated shoebox has some value, too. Through a separate initiative, the BCM is collecting the boxes to fill with toys and gifts and then shipped overseas to children in need through Operation Christmas Child to benefit Samaritan’s Purse. The group is also collecting toys and hygiene products to include in the boxes for boys and girls ages 7-14. Each box will also cost them $7 to ship and so cash donations are also being accepted.

On Oct. 25, BCM reached out the Student Government Association as part of their campus tour of other student organizations with which they seek to partner.

“We didn’t want to keep it in the BCM…we wanted to try to bring NKU together to benefit the community,” Jordan Holden said. “Many of these people go without food,” she added about the people who will be benefitted by the Shoeman project.

The need for more finances to provide clean water has motivated the group to work on the project.

“It costs about $1,000 to build one system,” Holden told the SGA. “It’s costing a lot of dough to get all these systems built.”

Story by Jesse Call