EmmaKate Few wants your shoes.
The Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School freshman is collecting gently used shoes to donate to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit based in Nashville, Tenn., that provides shoes to victims of natural disasters and the impoverished in the United States and abroad.
Any old shoes will do.
According to the Soles4Souls Web site, new shoes and used shoes that are in very good condition are distributed for crisis relief around the world. Shoes that aren’t appropriate for redistribution – such as high heels – are used for microenterprise programs in underdeveloped countries. The programs allow vendors to clean, repair and sell the shoes to generate income.
Shoes that are not fit for either purpose are recycled.
“Even if your shoes are totally falling apart, they’ll still take them,” Few said.
Few has involved youth across the Augusta area to help her in her mission, working with the Red Cross Youth Board and Episcopal Day School first-graders.
“(The first-graders) are probably my favorite group because they’re always so cute and excited to help,” she said.
Since she also plays the guitar, she teaches the children a song – The Choice by Billy Gilman and more than a dozen other country artists. (The song is a theme song for the organization, and each time it’s downloaded on iTunes the $1 purchase price is donated the cause.)
Few has collection boxes at six collection sites around Augusta and said she hopes to collect 2,000 pairs of shoes by Masters Week. She’s already up to 1,200.
Then she’ll load a UHaul, and she and her father will drive the collected shoes to a warehouse in Wadley, Ala. to drop them off.
She plans to spend part of her spring break at the national headquarters in Nashville, helping other volunteers sort donationed shoes and prepare them for shipping.
Few is one of 11 spokespersons for the organization and as such, she has organized similar shoe drives in Savannah, Birmingham and Missisippi.
She said she was drawn to the charity because giving an old pair of shoes is something anyone can do.
“I always push Acts 20:35, which is ‘It’s more blessed to give than receive.’ So people are always like, ‘I can’t give this because I don’t have enough money.’ It’s something everyone has. At least one pair.”
She also pointed out the “green” aspect. Donating shoes to a person who needs them keeps those shoes from clogging the landfill.
Few will continue to collect shoes after the drive and plans to make another delivery sometime over the summer.