Oak-Leyden Developmental Services has ended its Heart & Sole Shoe Drive. With community help, Oak-Leyden brought in 38 bags or 958 pairs of new and gently used shoes. Oak-Leyden will earn funds from the pairs collected since the Funds2Orgs network will be purchasing all donated goods. The proceeds will benefit programs and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
Donated shoes will be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of micro-enterprise partners in developing nations. Funds2Orgs helps impoverished people start, maintain and grow businesses in countries such as Haiti, Honduras and other nations in Central America and Africa. Proceeds from the shoe sales are used to feed, clothe and house their families. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send to her son to law school.
Adult participants who attend programs at Oak-Leyden’s Oak Park Lifelong Learning Center helped organize and pack the shoes. They were guided by Steve Riordan, a direct support professional at Oak-Leyden, who also helped gather shoes from different drop-off locations.
Businesses and organizations such as the Jack and Jill of America Foundation, Tau Gamma, Trends Consignment Boutique, and Sassetti LLC partnered with Oak-Leyden for the shoe drive. A local student, Sammy Mitzenmacher, also collected shoes as part of his Bar Mitzvah service project.
“We’re so grateful to everyone who helped out with the shoe drive,” said Lori Malinski, Director of Fund Development at Oak-Leyden. “It was amazing to see the level of community support.”