By Caitlyn Morral
[Image courtesy of Soles4Souls.org]
As the year is coming to a close, the St. Bonaventure women’s swim and dive team has put together a shoe drive to help those in need. In a campus-wide effort, shoes are being collected and donated to those who are less fortunate through the foundation Soles4Souls.
Soles4Souls, a non-profit organization, has a mission of helping those suffering from the backlash of poverty. With the collection of shoes and items of clothing, the association does what it can to reach out to those enduring the hardships of indigence on a day-to-day basis.
“In our locker room in the Reilly Center, we have a good amount of shoes that have been left over the years,” said junior and future captain of the women’s swim team Shannon Haberman. “We go from the pool to the weight room and vice versa, so we will keep our shoes in there. Some people who graduated ended up leaving them there for different reasons. No one uses them and they are not in bad shape, so we wanted to donate them.”
After realizing the potential of the shoe and clothing drive, the team decided to make it a campus-wide initiative.
“As I started to look into the company and saw that we could do a shoe drive, we decided to do a campus-wide shoe drive,” said Haberman. “All shoes are welcome and Soles4Souls will either distribute or sell the shoes, and thus use the profit to distribute shoes to those in need.”
“I think this type of shoe drive is so great to do on a college campus where you can reach such a wide array of people who are able to donate to those less fortunate,” said women’s swim and diving coach Krista Carlson. “Shannon and I actually collaborated on this idea. She had heard of the organization and at my place of previous employment (The University of Chicago), we had participated in it there, and it was very successful. Shannon completely took charge and put this together for our team– and is doing a great job.”
A fundraiser is also being tacked on to the shoe drive. Each pair of shoes donated will bring in $1 to the organization. While 60 percent of the profits raised will end up going to Souls4Souls, the other 40 percent will help the team pay for the fundraiser and other miscellaneous items of team equipment.
The swimming and diving team is heavily involved in the donation process including setting up donation bins, posters and flyers. The teammates have also been collecting shoes from each donation bin which will be delivered to a Souls4Soles factory later on.
Some of the team members have also expressed their excitement for the fundraiser and shoe drive.
“As a freshman on the team, I think that it’s really cool to have everyone together and do something that can help others,” said freshman and childhood studies major Emily Wulff.
The team has also learned to appreciate what they may have taken for granted prior to the fundraiser.
“As an athlete here at Bonaventure, I feel that it is extremely important that we give back to the community and do as much as we can to make a positive change in our society,” said Bridget Jordan a sophomore sports studies major. “This experience has taught all of us a lot about how fortunate we are, especially how lucky we are to be a part of such a great athletic program at an amazing school.”
The fundraiser, started on April 7, continues until May 5. Donation bins are placed around campus in places like the chapel, the Richter Center and the Thomas Merton Center for students to take part in this campaign themselves.