Do you have shoes piling up in the entryway or closet that you’d love to get rid of? Here’s a way to donate them and help Otsego children fight hunger. A shoe drive kicks off February 1st that will help the Otsego Public Schools’ Backpack Buddies program; a program that provides food on the weekends and over holiday breaks for students who rely on the school for much of their meals.
Otsego hopes the entire community will join in this effort. “This is a fundraiser that won’t cost people anything and they likely have shoes they’d like to get rid of so this is a win-win,” explains Jennifer Rickstad, the Backpack Buddies Coordinator for Washington Street Elementary. The shoe collection is coordinated through Funds2Orgs. Funds2Orgs collects new or gently used shoes to support efforts in developing countries, “They don’t have to be new, they just need to be in decent shape so others can get use out of them,” Rickstad says. Funds2Orgs will pay 40 cents per pound. The organization gave Otsego 100 bags to get started; each bag can hold about 25 pairs of shoes. But they hope this effort takes off and can fill about 300 bags. Funds2Orgs estimates that 300 bags can equal about $3,000. “Our goal is 300 bags,” Rickstad says. The high school got the effort started during Snocoming week, collecting about 35 pairs of shoes.
The proceeds will be split among the five Otsego schools. This was once an elementary-only program but the need doesn’t change with age so the middle and high school have since continued the program for their students in the last few years. Backpack Buddies is filling a great need, but there are more children that can be served. It costs about $150 for one child each year. Currently Otsego serves about 60 students with Backpack Buddies.
These families in need don’t always have the resources to put meals on the table for the weekends, so Backpack Buddies steps in. Through cooperation with Centerpoint Church, Otsego gets food items such as cereal, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and other items to send home with students on Fridays.
There are collection boxes at:
- All Otsego schools (main offices)
- RWE Healthy Living
- Otsego Health and Fitness
- Cut 'n Loose
- Baraga Manor
- Emerald Apts.
- Hollywood Nails
- United Methodist Church
- Congregational Church
If you own a business and would be willing to be a collection site, please contact Jennifer Rickstad at email@example.com. The shoe drive runs through April 30th.