Indra’s blog: About Shoes that deserve a Second Life
A few weeks ago, I started a big clear-out in the house. In the boys’ wardrobe I found a lot of filled shoeboxes. I have kept most of their shoes they had worn over the years. From both my mum and my mum-in-law I was ingrained with the thought that kids’ feet need good support to grow. We love to take the boys to Little Feet of Kelso, this fantastic shop has lovely staff that measure the growing feet and take their time to get it right. The shoes are fantastic quality and for what it is worth, they outlast the boys rate of wear by miles. Obviously these kids’ feet grow so quickly, but still..
I once made the mistake with my youngest to just nip in a well-known high-street shop, when he had just learned to walk, to buy his first pair of shoes. Even though he was measured up, it just seemed he was quite uncomfortable the following days and did not really walk well in them. When I brought him into the Kelso-shop to get these new shoes checked out, they showed me his new shoes were actually two WHOLE sizes too small. No wonder my little man never walked in them properly. So, since then I just go there and have built up quite a collection.
Somebody once told me how they had been to a wedding. The parents of the groom had kept all his shoes from when he was little to when he got older upto as an adult. They then put these shoes in the right order in the hallway from his hotel room to the function. As he walked up, he could literally walk past his life and see himself growing up through the shoes that formed the path to his bride. I thought this was such a beautiful thing to do. So, while I was looking at these cute shoes in little boxes I thought how I could do that for my boys. But then I thought…. This might actually be 30 years’ time of keeping all these shoes….. and actually what a waste… these are such good shoes that still had so much life in them. What else could be done?
When I did voluntary work with the refugees in Greece I had taken and left some of the shoes for the kids there. So, I googled for a good cause to actually do some good with them. What I found shocked me. I came across the site of ShoeAid, amongst others. The big difference being that this is a UK charity that collects shoes, however not for the poor abroad, but mostly for kids and homeless people here in the UK. Apparently, there is so much hidden poverty around that some parents are not able to fund new school shoes for their kids and these youngsters literally have to wear them with holes and all. I fortunately have never seen this on the school of the boys and did not think it would be anything that would happen in a country like ours. But I was clearly uneducated and wrong. Of course, you can buy shoes at the major supermarkets that are cheap and OK-ish. But apparently, even that can be too much.
I asked my eldest after explaining about kids that have shoes with holes and parents that have not got enough pennies to be able to buy them food and new shoes, so have to make hard choices, if he is OK if I sent all these shoes (obviously except for his very first ones as these are just keepsakes) to these kids. His answer: Mum, do you think I should sent them some of my toys as well? My mother heart got so much bigger! What a great man he is becoming!
If you have some unwanted shoes that are ready for a second life, or boots or slippers or whatever, do think of ShoeAid. Their misson is to source and supply free footwear through their collection and distribution network across the UK, so no child or adult has to go without shoes. Unfortunately, there is no collection point in the North East, but you can post it to the following address: Unit 4, Robinson industrial estate, Shaftesbury street, Derby DE23 8NL
As a big shoe lover I can only agree with them: Let’s stop shoe waste together!