As millions of people around the globe gather to celebrate a season of giving, many are met with no holiday cheer, no air of generosity, and seemingly little hope for the future. Those living in areas suffering from extreme poverty often rely on their feet alone to get them where they need to be. For those searching for successful fundraising ideas, a shoe drive is an excellent way to spread the warmth of the holidays while making a global impact.
How we can easily help those less fortunate
Individuals in wealthy countries enjoy the advantages that globalization has to offer, yet in our increasingly interconnected world, it is both difficult and irresponsible to turn a blind eye to the struggles faced by people in underdeveloped nations. With this thought in mind, the question then transitions from “Should we help those less fortunate than ourselves?” to “What are the most impactful ways to help people in poorer countries?”
Many Americans likely realize that shoes are considered to be an essential item for people living in impoverished nations for a number of reasons, especially in terms of seeking education or employment. Millions of children worldwide will grow up without ever owning a pair of shoes, as The World Bank estimates that approximately 400 million children worldwide — more than the entire U.S. population — live in pronounced poverty. As shoes are often a requirement for attending school, many of these children will be hindered in their ability to further or even begin any type of formal education.
Proper footwear as a human right
There are reasons surrounding the importance of reliable footwear, however, which are often overlooked. Not only are shoes necessary to pursue opportunity, but they also act as a protective measure from things like disease and other illnesses contracted from foot-to-ground contact in places where roads are often unpaved or nonexistent. Millions of barefoot men and women in places with no access to footwear risk contracting soil-transmitted parasites such as hookworm, which can have devastating effects on one’s health and may lead to a lifetime of enduring agony.
Turning your local fundraiser into a global fundraiser
Global action fosters an environment that promotes political stability, prosperity, and environmental sustainability. When we uplift and provide for those unable to provide for themselves we are helping to break the cycle of systemic poverty and end exploitation of those living in poorer nations.
When you organize a shoe drive through Angel Bins, you are contributing to a cause greater than any one individual. Compared to many forms of fundraising, shoe drives are unique in the sense that they allow people the opportunity to generate their own source of income rather than relying on charity alone. Each pair of shoes collected by Angel Bins eventually make their way onto the shelves and store aisles of small business owners in poor countries often referred to as “micro-entrepreneurs”. These micro-entrepreneurs are then able to resell the shoes for a profit to members of their local community, enabling them to provide necessary resources like food, shelter, and education for themselves and their families. This process also elevates poverty stricken families and allows them to attain the status of self-sustaining business owners. Shoe drive fundraising is a crucial step towards creating employment opportunities in places where the ability to make a livable wage is often out of reach for a majority of the population.
Your old shoes are more than just trash
While many of the collected shoes are resold and used for their originally intended purpose, even the shoes that are not sold still retain some value. It is often difficult not to take for granted the luxuries afforded to those living in developed or wealthy nations. Often times if something in a typical American household becomes worn or unusable, it is simply discarded and easily replaced without a second thought. Those living in abject poverty are not afforded this same luxury, and are forced to make ends meet with the few resources readily available to them. The new and gently worn shoes collected through shoe drive fundraising are one of these resources and oftentimes if they are not used as footwear, their materials are re-purposed to become useful components of home insulation, repairs, and furniture or car seat stuffing.
Making a greater impact
It is estimated that 10% of the world’s population lives on less than $1.90 a day. That means that roughly 780,000,000 people around the globe are living in what is considered to be extreme poverty.
Money, however, is not a complete measure of poverty. Other dimensions to this global issue include things like access (or lack thereof) to sanitation, employment, food, housing, education and medical services. Shoe drives are an excellent way to alleviate some of the hardships catalyzed by poverty. As an example, if you were thinking of organizing a school or medical fundraiser, it may motivate you to consider the fact that in addition to supporting your own local causes, you are also generating funds that may end up as crucial contributions towards school supplies or medical equipment in places where these resources are few and far between.
How to run a successful fundraiser
When putting together your fundraising team, a great way to inspire and bolster collection efforts is to educate those involved on the vast global impact that they are actually generating. It may seem obvious that fundraising for local organizations such as churches, schools, or medical facilities is an easy and unique way to give back to your community. Yet, it is also of great importance that we look beyond the people close to us who are immediately impacted by fundraising efforts, and that we embrace the idea that shoes drive fundraising provides invaluable benefits to those living in underdeveloped nations.
Whether you are new to the world of shoe drive fundraising, or an accomplished organizer in the midst of your annual Christmas fundraiser, it is important to keep in mind that the key objectives of fundraising
are to provide for those less fortunate who are unable to provide for themselves, and to establish an environment that fosters positive social change.
Reach out to Angel Bins for more information
Angel Bins can aid your school, church, or institution in raising necessary funds through our shoe drives, with the average shoe drive fundraisers raising upwards of $1,000. Not only is organizing a shoe drive a great way to give back to your individual cause, but it is also a great way to help the global community. To set up your fundraiser today, please call 213-458-9896 or complete our contact form and our fundraising coordinator will help you get started.