Putting their best foot forward

Trending-Shoe-DriveSome were boots. Others were shiny patent-leather dress shoes that had never been worn. And then there were tennis shoes and sandals and pumps — a shoe lover’s paradise.

But for Women for Hospice, the shoes are more than just stylish footwear; they’re a new opportunity to raise money for patient care services at Cornerstone Hospice. Over the years, the nonprofit organization of steadfast and charitable ladies has given more than $2 million to the hospice.

“The group was looking for a creative way to help raise money while making an impact on their environment,” says Desirée Coleman-Cohrn, director of legacy planning and major gifts at the Cornerstone Hospice Foundation. “Instead of the special events and auctions, they wanted something different.”

So, starting this month, Women for Hospice will conduct its first shoe drive.

The shoes will be donated to Funds2Orgs, a social enterprise organization that ships the shoes to developing nations so needy people can sell them to make a living, a process that encourages self-sustainability and micro-enterprise. According to Funds2Orgs.com, the collected shoes are consolidated and shipped to on-the-ground business operators where they clean, repair, or melt down outsoles if necessary to make a new pair of shoes.

“When we introduced Women for Hospice to the Funds2Orgs shoe campaign they were head over heels, no pun intended,” says Coleman-Cohrn. “The partnership has allowed our ladies to provide business opportunities in disadvantaged countries and, most importantly, provide footwear to impoverished people. Not to mention, keeping 30,000 pair of shoes out of our local landfills.”

The goal is to collect 1,200 bags of shoes. In turn, Women for Hospice will receive $12,000. One Clermont woman, Ruee Wheeler, has gathered 600. She hopes to collect 1,000. Shoes of all sizes and types for men, women and children are needed. Broken straps and heels will be repaired.

Through November, shoes can be dropped off at Hospice Hope Chest, 315 N. Donnelly St., in Mount Dora. For more information, contact Connie Prudhomme at 352.365.2162.

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