By Heather Collins
An Indianapolis-based nonprofit wants people to never throw away a pair of shoes.
Changing Footprints collected more than 40,000 pairs of shoes in 2017, a record for the organization. It hosts bi-monthly sorting sessions and seeks volunteers to help sort the donated shoes that will be distributed throughout the world.
Changing Footprints co-founder Bob Broughton said he started the organization because he wanted a hands-on experience helping people instead of just writing a check. Broughton said the original plan was to provide assistance to people overseas, but he soon realized more than 80 percent of the shoes were assisting local people in need.
Local recipients include refugee programs, women’s programs, children’s bureaus, career assistance programs, low-income programs and veterans. Shoes are distributed internationally to places such as Sierra Leone, Serbia, Ghana and to U.S. Army troops in Afghanistan.
“We accept gently used to greatly loved. That’s how we like to put it,” said Robin Lindsey, Changing Footprints and Kiwanian volunteer and Carmel resident.
Worn-out shoes are sent to Nike and turned into paving and playground materials through a recycling program.
Sorting sessions are held every first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon and every third Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m. at 9302 N. Meridian St., Suite 350B. Volunteers are encouraged to come and go at their convenience. To volunteer, contact Broughton at 317-727-4186 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carmel drop-off locations include Keen Children’s Shoes, America Legion Post 155, Carmel Racquet Club and Blue Mile.
For information, visit changingfootprints.org.