How many pairs of shoes do you think 2,686 pounds adds up to? Approximately 2,775 pairs. That’s how many donations were collected and packaged from November 1 through January 10 for the Care and Share’s shoe drive fundraiser. Those shoes will now be transported by the Funds2Orgs Group to several countries in Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Ghana and to Haiti, where they’ll be purchased from small business owners for pennies on the dollar and resold to local residents.

    The shoes not sold are repurposed for insulation or stuffing for car seats and furniture.

    Faye Overgaard was the head organizer of the Care and Share’s shoe drive fundraiser after trying to come up with a way to raise money to add shelving in the donation room. She found the shoe drive program online and got straight to work.

    The Care and Share was able to raise $1,074.40 from the shoe drive.

    “We want to thank our local sponsors for collecting donations and advertising: Hugo’s Grocery, Hardware Hank, Care and Share, RiverView Healthcare Admissions, Villa St. Vincent and Summit, Nimens-Espegard Apartments, Garden Valley Telephone in Erskine, Crookston Times and Valley Shopper, and KROX Radio,” said Overgaard. “Special thanks to family and friends, and our community for making a difference Caring and Sharing.”

FUNDS2ORGS GROUP

    The Funds2Orgs Group seeks to provide an opportunity to people to help themselves out of poverty and, through the shoe drive program, they take donated shoes and sell them to small business owners in communities in need of proper footwear, at an inexpensive price, helping the micro-entrepreneurs create a path out of poverty for themselves in countries where there are limited job opportunities that pay a living wage.

    According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2015, textiles, including shoes and clothing, represented 16.03M tons and 65.7 percent of content in landfills. In the U.S., each individual produces 4.48 pounds of daily waste which includes shoe that are thrown away.

    Haiti is one of the countries where the Funds2Orgs group ships the shoes that are collected in shoe drive fundraisers across North America. According to reporting by World Bank, Haiti is the most impoverished country in the western hemisphere and, of the country’s population of 10.4 million people, over 6 million, or 59 percent, live below the national poverty level of $2.41 USD per day.

    A Funds2Orgs story about one of the micro-entrepreneurs:

    Silvia was living in great poverty (earning about $2 a day) and, once the 2010 earthquake hit, she and her son, David, lost every material possession they had at the time. After a couple of weeks, Silvia’s friend asked her to help her sell shoes, which were essential to prevent disease, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake.

    Silvia started working seven days a week for 12 hours a day, determined to find a path out of poverty for herself and her son. She also wanted David to get educated, which was a tall order in a country where poverty is systemic.

    Today, Silvia sells the footwear that she purchases for pennies on the dollar from the Funds2Orgs Group in her community, for a fraction of the original cost, but still at a profit. She has a few people working for her and now she earns over $60 per a day in comparison to the $2 a day or less she was making before the 2010 earthquake. David was able to graduate high school, as opposed to going to work, and is now attending college, which is a first in their family.

    For more information about Funds2Orgs, visit www.funds2orgs.com.