Layne Collins, a senior at Cuba City High School, recently organized a shoe drive for Dando Amor (Shoes for Love).
The non-profit organization works to give aid to orphans in Ecuador, Africa, and Haiti by providing shoes for those in need. If the shoes cannot be used at an orphanage, they will be distributed to poor families to set up their own small businesses.
Dando Amor was started by professional photographers Travis Guglemen and Lori Nordstrom in 2011 and has since made a large impact worldwide. The founders help support shoe drives throughout the U.S. every year and have collected hundreds of thousands of shoes within the organization’s three years of existence. They frequently coordinate service trips to the countries they are helping and have also started their own orphanage in Ecuador to accommodate some of the 150 million orphans in the world.
In a three-week period, Collins was able to collect more than 500 pairs of shoes to go to the needy in Africa and South America. With the help of many people throughout local communities, she was able to not only reach, but far surpass, her goal of 100 pairs of shoes during her collection. She gathered a variety of shoes, ranging from children’s shoes, to cowboy boots, to medical boots. All types of shoes were accepted, no matter the condition, size, style, or age.
An estimated 680 million pairs of shoes are thrown away every year in the United States alone, while just one pair could change an orphan’s life. For this reason, no shoe was turned down. Word of this shoe drive spread quickly, as people from as far as Sparta donated large amounts of shoes to contribute to the effort.
Many hours were put into advertising, collecting, organizing, tying, and bagging for this project. Although it required a lot of hard work, the collection was extremely successful and will go toward a great cause.