Pennsbury High School requires all students to do a ‘graduation project,’ and junior Max Curewitz has opted to get involved with a worthy community service project.
He is collecting new and gently used shoes for the Nashville-based charity Soles4Shoes, which was started in 2004, in response to the disastrous tsunami that struck Southeast Asia.
Soles4Shoes founder Wayne Elsey was watching the coverage of the tsunami on TV and saw a shot of a lone shoe washing up on the beach. He got inspired and then got active, calling several executives in the footwear industry.
Resultant donations totaled over a quarter of a million shoes sent to victims of the tsunami devastation. Shortly thereafter, Katrina tore through Louisiana, and Wayne again reached out, and over a million pairs of shoes were sent to the Gulf Coast communities affected by the hurricane.
Wayne then decided to form a charity that could do this work all the time, and send shoes to wherever the need was greatest, and Soles4Shoes was officially created.
Since then over 17 million pairs of shoes have been sent to those in need in 127 different countries.
Max, whose community service project involves collecting new and used shoes from local schools where he has placed collection boxes, has thus far collected over 700 pairs from three local elementary schools and two middle schools.
When he reaches 5,000 pairs they will go to a distribution center in Edison, New Jersey, where Soles4Shoes volunteers will clean and renew the shoes and then send them on to where they are deemed to be needed most.
“We send to places where there have been disasters, or where there are a lot of foot-borne illnesses, as many of these illnesses can result in serious health problems or even death,” Max explains.
Collection boxes are available at Pennsbury High School, or donors are encouraged to e-mail Max to arrange a drop-off.
Max is at firstname.lastname@example.org and he hopes all of you can help out in this worthy project.
PHOTO CAP: Max Curewitz with donated shoes