By Kim Corriher
Who knew a little spring cleaning could have global repercussions.
A group of Ohio University students is hoping that before you toss out those shoes that are out of season or out of style, you consider giving them a second life.
"So many of us are fortunate to have more shoes than we need, and we don't really think about what happens to them after we are done with them," senior Lauren Cassady said. "There are a lot of people in this world for whom just one pair of shoes would make a huge difference."
The "Connect Your Kicks" program is part of an initiative supported by the Mid-American Conference. Ohio University's Student Athlete Advisory Committee is joining similar groups from around the region in collecting gently used footwear to be donated to Share Your Soles.
In 1999, Chicago native Mona Purdy founded Share Your Soles as an extension of her effort to provide shoes to Central American children in need. Purdy remains at the helm of the nonprofit group, which has significantly expanded its reach. In close to a decade, the program has provided tens of thousands of pairs of shoes both internationally -- in areas such as Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Africa -- and domestically, including Native American reservations and Appalachia.
Cassady said most shoes that are thrown away often are in better condition than their owners might think.
"With a little love and cleaning up, they can make a huge difference for people throughout the world, and even in our own backyard," Cassady said.
Share Your Soles accepts footwear of all kinds, from sneakers to cowboy boots and soccer cleats to rollerblades. Both children and adult sizes are needed. The Student Athlete Advisory Committee and Share Your Soles ask that all donations be in wearable condition.
The students' collection efforts will continue through March 31. Donations may be dropped off at Peden Tower 409 or arranged by calling 740-593-0536.