Best feet forward

Since Sept. 1, more than 50 pairs of shoes have been donated to the annual shoe drive, a month-long campaign by Campus Recreation to donate shoes to disadvantaged people around the world.

St. John’s has joined footwear companies, retailers, churches and other civic groups all over the country which are contributing to “Soles 4 Souls,” a global non-profit charity dedicated to collecting new and used shoes to donate to those in need of footwear.

The organization coordinated relief efforts for the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and donated an estimated 1 million pairs of shoes to those two disasters only, according to the group’s Web site.

Ashley Meadows, who works for Campus Recreation, said she felt the charity fell in line with University’s Vincentian mission and wanted to bring it to St. John’s.

“For the little amount of advertisements we posted, we received a lot of e-mails and phone calls from other administration and staff about the shoe drive,” she said.

“Our original goal was to collect a few bags of shoes,” she added. “But now we’ve surpassed our expectations.”

The drive will continue until Sept. 30 and shoe drop-off points are located in the Fitness Center, Taffner Field House and Hollis Hall.

Although the shoe drive did receive some concordance, not everyone was aware of the program because of the inadequate amount of publication.

“St. John’s can take the time and energy out to advertise barbecues and parties but they have trouble advertising something that would actually help people,” said Ian Hurley.

Hurley said he thought the drive was a worthwhile cause.

“Donating just one pair of shoes would have such an impact on people who walk around shoeless,” he said.

Junior Jessica Roman said she did not know much about the event but also said she felt the shoe drive “is good because a lot of people need shoes.”

Meadows said she would love to hold future collection drives with more drop-off locations and with more University groups involved.

“We did a lot now, but we have a lot more to do,” she said.

Meadows insisted that more drop-off locations would be beneficial to the drive, and with more collaboration from other
departments, informing the St. John’s community would become easier. “I want to set the parameters for whoever is taking over the drive next year,” said Meadows.
“This is a preview,” she said. “We might plan a clothing drive later on.”