The William Smith crew team is beefing up the Row for Community program, a charitable fundraiser it holds each year, and hopes to put a little more “green” back in William Smith Athletics in the process. On Feb.18, the team is sponsoring Kicks for Community, a used sneaker and shoe drive, in conjunction with Row for Community held between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. in the atrium of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.
The program seeks to gather gently used sneakers and shoes to donate to Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization that helps give shoes worldwide to those who need them.
“We hope to help the planet by keeping used shoes out of the landfills a little longer,” says Sandra Chu, head coach of William Smith rowing. “Shoes spend over 500 years in landfills and also use a lot of energy and produce a lot of toxins during the manufacturing process.”
Not everyone is able to take part in the Row for Community event, donating a full hour on the rowing machine, so Kicks for Community encourages wider participation. As an extra incentive, for every pair of gently worn shoes donated, participants will be entered into a raffle to win a new pair of sneakers. Additionally, $2 donations per pair of sneakers will help to offset the cost of shipping and, if participants don’t have any shoes to donate, they can obtain a raffle ticket with a $5 donation.
“So many Americans have more than one pair of shoes and many go idle or are discarded in decent condition,” says Chu. “Soles4Souls.org helps get shoes to people who need them, like victims of natural disasters, orphanages, domestic abuse shelters, and children in Third World countries. By partnering with Soles4Souls, we can help make the world a better place.”
William Smith crew hopes to collect one pair of shoes for every student on campus and is accepting donations from the student body, faculty and staff as well as members of the local community.When donating, it would be greatly appreciated if participants secured pairs of shoes with a rubber band beforehand to make everything run as smoothly as possible.