Our 4-H’ers want your soles — your shoe soles, that is. Kasey Bozeman and her energetic 4-H students are kicking off a project and they need your help.
The Liberty County 4-H group is one of my favorite youth organizations. They are so enthusiastic, and they work hard to get any job they take on done. So understand as they start this shoe recycling project, your shoes may be in peril.
Leave it to Kasey and Gypsy James and these kids to come up with a fundraiser for their organization that will help people across the globe.
The 4-H’ers decided this year that they needed to earn money to support their program. After some research, they chose ShoeBox Recycling. They will be collecting and recycling gently used shoes through Shoebox Recycling, a branch of the company Community Recycling.
These shoes are repurposed and kept out of landfills, and 4-H will earn a small profit for participating. ShoeBox Recycling accepts gently used shoes that are then cleaned and shipped for use to developing countries across the globe. Shoes that are not acceptable for reuse are actually mulched and used as insulation material.
Since EPA suggests that the average person in America tosses more than 70 pounds of shoes and clothing in the trash each year, let’s please stop that madness. Don’t waste these items on a landfill. Put them to good use or reuse.
The ShoeBox Recycling process is pretty easy. ShoeBox provides the shipping boxes and the prepaid shipping labels so the kids can focus on collecting as many shoes as possible. The company also allows you to track your recycled shoes all the way to the person it benefits — creating "soulmates" between the giver and receiver through handwritten notes.
"Not only are we teaching sustainable living and the importance or recycling and repurposing items, but establishing the human connection for the youth is equally important," said Bozeman. "It’s great we have Keep Liberty Beautiful as a community partner to help us spread the word about our project."
ShoeBox will pay the 4-H group by the pound for the shoes they collect. According to ShoeBox Recycling, more than 4,000 organizations have earned more than $1 million in three years.
During February and March, the 4-Hers are kicking off their collection project. They are personally inviting you to participate. They can accept all sizes and styles of shoes from men and women and children. The only shoes that they cannot accept are cleats and snow boots.
4-H’ers can pick up large collections of shoes or shoes can be dropped off at the Extension Office in the Historic County Courthouse at 100 Main St. In February, we will also have 4-H’ers collecting shoes at the quarterly Recycle It. Fairs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 17 at all three locations in Hinesville, Midway and Walthourville.
Do you have unworn shoes? I know you do. I am wondering if you are like me. In my closet, I am sure that I have many pairs of lonely shoes waiting in quiet desperation for someone to notice them. I am sure that I have many pairs of shoes that I have not worn in years.
I challenge you to join me in putting these shoes to good use. There are many people in the world that would appreciate a gently used pair of shoes to wear. Let’s load up those shoes and make some bare feet — and some hard-working 4-H’ers — happy.
To find out how you can be involved in this 4-H effort, contact the Liberty County Extension Office at 876-2133 or contact Kasey at firstname.lastname@example.org.