Keeping Busy

Community Living’s Support Services for Adults program acquired a new volunteer job with Shoes & Hope, a non-profit organization collecting new and used shoes to help bring clean water and life’s basic necessities to both local and global communities.

Joann Burpo, Director of Support Services for Adults, met Christy Weber, Founder of Shoes & Hope, at a Vision St. Charles County Leadership event. “As soon as she told me where she worked, I asked her if the centers could help,” Joann said. “She was more than eager to get us involved and it has been a great match.”

Christy shares Joann’s sentiment. “When Joann and I first started discussing the possibility of partnering, I was beyond excited,” Christy said. “The timing couldn’t have been better as we were starting to get overwhelmed with the number of shoes coming in.”

The agency operates with no paid staff and very low overhead. Christy was sorting, pairing and counting shoes in her garage with the help of volunteers, which became a challenge once the workload became more and more.

Now, Support Services for Adults participants help sort, pair and count shoes. “Once the shoes are sorted and bagged by our friends at Community Living, we store them until we have 20,000 pairs of shoes,” Christy said. At that point, the shoes are paid for by the pound through an exporter. The money received is used for community development in Central America (currently Guatemala and Belize) to bring clean water to communities.

There are currently 20 drop sites throughout the metropolitan St. Louis area. Community Living has a box at each of the following locations:

  • Administration Building, 1040 St. Peters Howell Road in St. Peters
  • Mahon & Lonning Centers, 100/102 Lee Ann Court in St. Charles
  • Clever & Wilson Centers, 1056/1058 Rondale Court in Dardenne Prairie
  • Family Center, 107 Sheriff Deirker Court, O’Fallon, MO 63366

Community Living is also working on ways to branch out and get more collection boxes in the community. It is the hope of Community Living that Shoes & Hope will continue to be an ongoing job that will continue to grow. “The mission of Community Living aligns perfectly with Shoes & Hope,” Christy said. “We are about Passion, Purpose and Partnership.”

This partnership is viewed as a Godsend for both Joann and Christy. “Every time I drop off or pick up shoes at one of the centers, the participants and managers are always so grateful and thanking me for this opportunity,” Christy said. “I’m not sure they know that I am the truly blessed one. I love being able to give a hand to those in Guatemala who truly have nothing; however, it’s very important to me to have an impact in our own community as well.”

If you have shoes to donate, you may drop them off at any of the above drop off locations. For more information on Shoes & Hope, go to www.shoesandhope.org.

How it Works

  1. You donate your unwanted gently-used shoes;
  2. The shoes are sorted, paired and counted;
  3. Shoes are shipped through an exporter who pays for the shoes by the pound;
  4. Money received is used for Community Development in Guatemala and Belize to help with clean water and basic necessities;
  5. Clean water helps with hygiene and sanitation, as well as health and nutrition.