CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Shoes new and old in all shapes, sizes, and colors can be donated locally. This year those donations could help meet a goal set more than a decade ago.
Samaritans Feet International has been based in Charlotte since it was founded back in 2003. The organization has grown so much and received hundreds of thousands of donations every month, they’ve moved to a bigger warehouse. The move is all happening as they approach a major milestone.
Samaritans Feet International’s new home off Chesapeake Drive in north Charlotte is its largest facility ever.
Volunteers can now see first-hand the impact shoe donations have across the globe — all before they step into the warehouse, which is filled to the ceiling with thousands of shoes.
“The reality is for a team our size we need thousands of volunteers to help us get what we need to get out,” said Founder, Manny Ohonme.
Shoes are sorted by size and boxed up. The mission is to ship out more than 100,000 shoes over the next month to meet a goal of about 1.5 million this year.
“This is a special year. We want to finish the task this year. We want to get to 10 million. Our original goal,” said Ohonme.
That original goal set back in 2003 is facing the biggest challenge yet, a pandemic.
“We can’t take people overseas as much as we would love to because of some of these health restrictions,” said Ohonme.
The shoes are being brought to those in need in the form of care boxes.
In the Charlotte area, shoes are being left for CMS students inside shoe lockers. Thousands of pairs of footwear are also being dropped off-site at volunteering events.
The ideas pivoting are all new ways of meeting the need during these different times.
“The year before last when we were supposed to serve one million, we thought the world was going to shut down, we still served 700,000 people. So we still need people. We haven’t stopped. We keep going,” said Ohonme.
To help meet the need, Samaritans Feet needs not only shoe donations but volunteers as well. You can learn more on how you can meet the 10 million shoe goal by clicking here.