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Otterbein Religious and Spiritual Life Council collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes during donation drive

Otterbein Religious and Spiritual Life Council collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes during donation drive


When the Otterbein Religious and Spiritual Life Council sat down at their first meeting of the academic year, they did not anticipate the success that their semester service project would have.

The Religious and Spiritual Life Council is comprised of representatives from seven student organizations including Athletes in Action, Crossroads, Gospel Choir, Humble Dance, Muslim Student Association, Otterbein Catholic Student Ministry and Otterbein Christian Fellowship. Inspired by the values and mission of the nonprofit, Save The Feet, the group decided to host a shoe drive.

President and CEO of Save The Feet, Jordan Keefe, started this organization in 2013 after going to Haiti and witnessing children walk around with two-liter pop bottles on their feet in fear of getting parasitic diseases. Keefe began collecting shoes as a student at the University of Toledo.

“Many students think that because they are a ‘broke college student’ they can’t give or make a difference,” said Kerigan McNamara ’17, Otterbein Religious and Spiritual Life Council member. “We chose to have a shoe drive because everyone, or at least one person they know, has a pair of shoes that they don’t need. That pair of shoes can certainly and significantly impact a life.”

This project began at the end of November so students, faculty and staff could bring shoes back to campus after being home for Thanksgiving. Collection boxes were placed around Otterbein’s campus and in Westerville at Church of the Master and St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and school. As finals weeks concluded, students collected and counted shoes for an overall total of 1,017 pairs of shoes.

“I was blown away by the amount of generosity Otterbein and the Westerville community showed with the shoe drive,” said Mara Eisenbarth ‘17. “I would have been happy with 100 pairs, but 1,017 pairs never even crossed my mind! This drive made me take a step back and realize how important they are in our everyday lives and just how much extra we have, not only of shoes, but a lot of things other people have to live without.”

This service project displays how much small groups can accomplish. As of December 2015, the shoes collected by the Otterbein Religious and Spiritual Life Council alone make up about 9% of Save The Feet’s total collected amount. In two months, individuals from the nonprofit will be going to Marigot, Haiti and setting up their first shoe store at an orphanage.

Religious and Spiritual Life Council has decided to continue this service project in the spring semester. Details will be shared on campus once classes resume.

 

To learn more about Save The Feet, visit www.savethefeet.org.