During the month of April you’re going to see cardboard depositories for the Shoe Bank charity all around Nelson, but the organization doesn’t have a place to collect and sort their haul.
“We are urgently in need of an operating space,” said organizer Jackie Nedelec, who currently has mountainous piles of shoeboxes in her living room. The space they’ve been using for the past five years in the Chahko Mika Mall has been rented out.
“I have tried everything to locate an operating and sorting space for this worthy event. I have searched out eight pages of names and buildings, placed ads, handed out letters and phone numbers all to no avail.”
Now she’s getting desperate, with the event only two weeks away.
“Our donations throughout the year have a huge benefit to those less fortunate and it would be a sad day to see it end,” Nedelec said.
The organization was federally registered as Soles4Souls Canada in 2010, but it recently changed its name to Shoe Bank Canada. Its mission statement is “No Canadian should want for a decent pair of shoes.”
It collects donated shoes and distributes them through food banks and other social agencies in conjunction with the Rotary Club. It has set a goal of collecting one million pairs in every province.
This year the charity’s focus has changed: instead of sending shoes elsewhere, such as to victims of the Japanese tsunami and Haitian earthquake, they will be distributed within Canada.
Workboots, in particular, are in high demand. Nedelec said many impoverished residents require them for employment.
“Surely in a democratic, caring country we should be able to recycle shoes and get them to the people who need them,” said Rotary volunteer Sheila Hart.
The drive runs from April 1 to 30. For more information — or if you have space to offer — visit shoebankcanada.com or call Nedelec at 250-229-5265.
(CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect dates for the shoe drive.)