By: Brian Harper
Community Outreach Coordinator
Stan’s Fit For Your Feet and New Balance Milwaukee customers are familiar with our Share-A-Pair shoe drive. Every February or March for the past seven years, we have collected new or gently used shoes from customers and given them to people in need throughout the Greater Milwaukee community and world.
Some shoes go to Father Gene’s Help Center, a West Allis volunteer organization that aids the poor, elderly and lonely. Others go to Repairers of the Breach, a daytime refuge and resource center in Milwaukee. The remainder go to Soles4Souls, a global not-for-profit that collects new shoes to provide relief to victims of abject suffering and used shoes to support micro-enterprise efforts designed to eradicate poverty.
We have been gathering donated footwear in a local storage space for well over a year. Last week, we transported more than 400 boxes of shoes onto a semi truck heading to Iowa. From there, the shoes will go to Soles4Souls’ headquarters in Tennessee and eventually be distributed to people in Haiti, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Tanzania. By our math, that is more than 13,000 pairs of Milwaukee shoes circulating around the world!
Share-A-Pair is one of the most important efforts we undertake at Stan’s and New Balance Milwaukee. As a family-owned and locally-operated business, we have been fortunate to be part of the Greater Milwaukee community for 64 years. Our customers and city have allowed us to serve them with quality footwear and service, and we are eager to give back to the area and world. Share-A-Pair is our opportunity to do just that and do it the way we know best: by helping people step into good shoes.
It was truly overwhelming to see the seemingly endless stacks of boxes that had piled over time. The donated shoes are a testament to our customers’ enthusiastic generosity, and we are proud that their support of Stan’s and New Balance Milwaukee also means supporting people in need, both here in Milwaukee and around the world.
We are excited to continue our Share-A-Pair shoe drive next year and keep working with our customers and the local community to help Milwaukee and the rest of the world!