Old shoes for a good cause

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Santana Austin
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Shoes, shoes, shoes: They come in different styles and have seen, or will see, their share of miles. Some of these shoes may soon end up being stored in a closet or attic, only to collect dust and take up space once they've seen their use. Or, in the worst-case scenario, the old spats could end up being thrown away, ending up in landfills where they can take decades to decompose. Instead of hoarding old shoes or throwing them away, why not give them up to a good cause?

The 445th Airlift Wing Airman's Council is taking part in "Shoes for Water," a shoe drive led by EDGE Outreach. EDGE Outreach is an international organization that protects the lives of nearly 400,000 people each year by providing equipment and training to individuals seeking to address water quality and sanitation issues in developing countries and post-disaster environments.

The Airman's council will be collecting pairs of shoes throughout the wing. They will also set up collection bins Sept. 14 and 15 during the Air Force Marathon at the Expo at Wright State University. Any and all donations of shoes are welcome.

According to Jeff Klingman, an EDGE Outreach representative, the collected shoes serve two purposes: to raise money for water purification projects and keep used shoes out of landfills. Every 20,000 pounds of shoes will help a village obtain one chlorine generator to turn the undrinkable water from their water source into clean, bacteria and parasite-free water.
Once the shoes are collected, EDGE sells the shoes to an exporter, thus generating money for water purification equipment and training in Third World countries. The exporter then takes the shoes to the same countries that EDGE does water/hand pump repair projects and sells them to micro-business owners (at affordable prices) to help them to have a sustainable living for their families, he added.

"Having affordable shoes is another life-saving tool because they protect the owner's feet from foot injuries, as well as their overall body from parasites and mites," said Senior Airman Laura Wagner, 445th Operations Support Squadron information specialist and a member of the Airman's Council. "I'm glad the Airman's Council is able to make a difference."

For more information on the shoe drive, contact Senior Airmen Laura Wagner at laura.wagner@wpafb.af.mil, Shadae Lampkin at shadae.lampkin@wpafb.af.mil, or Amy Snavely at amy.snavely@ wpafb.af.mil.

To learn more about EDGE Outreach and their water purification innovations, visit their website at http://www.edgeoutreach.com.