The Riverside Fergus Falls Lions Club will be hosting a shoe donation drive in the parking lot of Service Food on Friday, July 24, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, July 25, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. For anyone who can’t make those donation times, there are also drop-off locations at Dunham’s Sports and the YMCA.
Donated shoes will be sold to Funds2Orgs, which help groups organize shoe drive fundraisers. Funds2Orgs then sells the shoes to hub operators in developing nations like Haiti and Honduras, who then sell the shoes to microentrepreneurs (small business owners with little to no income or livelihood) who clean the shoes and sell them for a profit in their communities. The money Riverside Fergus Falls Lions Club receives from Funds2Orgs for the shoes will go toward local projects.
“The program sends these shoes to other countries to help people become self-sufficient, and I think that’s important to let people know that. Not only are we benefiting, but so are people from other countries that are benefiting,” says Lions Club member and co-chairman of the fundraiser, Ginny Paulson
“We donate it to a lot of the local Lions’ stuff, children’s cancer is a project that just started,” says Paulson. “We do the library, the Lions Reading Program. The rest of our projects are primarily on vision and hearing, and so we help the ‘Can Do Canines’ and the ‘Leader Dogs’ (for the blind) program.”
Shoes of all kinds are welcome to be donated: men’s, women’s, children’s; boots, running shoes, dress shoes, etc. “They need to have their laces and be in good enough condition, no holes or tears,” says Sherry Schmidt, member of the Lions Club.
“We want them in good, usable condition. As long as they’re not falling apart,” Paulson says.
The club is hoping to get 2,500 pairs, “although the more we get the better the people in other countries fare. That’s our minimum goal,” says Paulson. This is the second season that the Lions Club has put on the shoe donation drive, having raised a little over $1,000 last year. Payment from Funds2Orgs is dependent on the weight of the shoe donation, not necessarily on the number of pairs sent in.
For prospective donors who do not wish to or cannot travel, organizers of the drive like Paulson and Schmidt, are willing to help set up pickups. Paulson can be reached at 218-736-5109 and Schmidt at 218-671-3525.