After Sunday evening, West St. Louis County-based Shoeman Water Projects had 2,803 more pairs of shoes from Living Word United Methodist's third annual 'Shoe-per Bowl Party' in Wildwood headed toward ensuring more people in Africa will have the chance for clean water.
Rich Kim and his wife, Nancy, of St. Peters, MO, attended the Shoe-per Bowl Party at Living Word Sunday to meet with the several hundred teenagers about the mission of raising funds for clean water in Kenya from selling new and used shoes that are donated, like the pile that accumulated at the Living Word altar Sunday.
Admission for attendees of the Shoe-per Bowl Party is donated shoes, that volunteers, such as the Kims, come by during the game's halftime and pick up.
He told the teenagers the average American family consumes 200 gallons of water a day, whereas the typical African family is fortunate to have 5 to 7 gallons of usable water per day.
"It's amazing how little water the Kenyans live on. It's a totally different perspective on life," said Nancy.
Rich said 250 water wells had been created in Africa as of 2011, due to proceeds from the Shoeman Water Projects. "From Living Word, the shoes will be taken to our warehouse, weighed, sorted, boxed up and shipped to exporters."
He thanked the Shoe-per Bowl attendees for all their "soles," after walking them through a presentation about the program and process for turning donated shoes into cash to build non-existing water wells for grateful Kenyans.
Shoeman Water Projects is a ministry of Eagle Wing Ministries, a registered nonprofit charity created to alleviate human suffering.
Hefty Year-End Goal Met
Founder George "the Shoeman" Hutchings set a goal for 2011 to bring in a million pairs of shoes in one year, and after a lot of people's assistance, he reached his target. The organization has "turned shoes into water" for more than 200,000 people in developing countries since 2008.
In early December, when the group was still 255,639 pairs of shoes short of their 2011 goal, Shoeman Water Projects launched its “Let it Shoe” campaign. In less than one month, generous “soles” from throughout the Greater St. Louis Area and beyond responded with donations of 258,714 pairs of shoes—more than three times the monthly average, to reach a total of 1,003,075 for the year.
To keep up with the overwhelming response, Shoeman’s staff and Shoe-per Star corps of volunteers said they mobilized to make pickups far and wide. Harold Lilly and his son, along with others from Mission Community Church in Pacific, MO, brought an entire trailer to the warehouse, for example.
“We are so grateful to the volunteers and supporters throughout the community who helped us reach our goal,” said Julie Scaglione, director of community relations for Shoeman Water Projects, in a press release about reaching the shoe donation target. “Many regular supporters and volunteers got involved, and lots of schools and churches in Missouri and Illinois held drives that brought in sizable donations. Keeping up with the demand was a gratifying challenge."
“We were flooded (with shoes),” said Becky Nieters, Shoeman Water Projects' shoe drive coordinator who sends out kits and schedules pickups. By the end of December, she said the staff had made three separate shipments to clear their warehouse in Fenton, MO—compared to one shipment during a typical month.
"Our request for shoe drive kits actually went down in December, but the influx of shoes went way up," Nieters stated in the release.
Want to donate shoes to this worthy cause? See which locations from among 200 collection points are closest by clicking here.
The following locations in Wildwood serve as collection points: