Stand up. Now go to the closet and open it up. Look inside. What do you see? You probably see many shoes and clothes, some of which may still have the tag on them. Have you ever wondered what it would be like not to have those shoes or hoodies to keep you warm, especially during the coldest months of the year?
Hoodies for the Homeless and Soles 4 Soles are two organizations that collect donations of gently used coats and shoes to give to area residents who couldn’t afford them otherwise.
Enactus, formerly SIFE, is collecting gently used hoodies through the end of November to donate to The Refuge of Hope in Canton. Senior accounting and business administration major Sara Gingerich is in charge of the Hoodies for the Homeless program this year.
“We are collecting hoodies from students, faculty and staff and right now we are up to 100 hoodies,” Gingerich said.
Last year, the Hoodies for the Homeless program collected 115 hoodies. Her ultimate goal this year is to be able to donate over 200 hoodies.
Program donations by students in the past have been low as students don’t have access to their closets at home.
“Since students are on campus, they don’t bring hoodies that they’re not going to wear,” Gingerich said.
Gingerich’s solution involves raising money to actually go out and purchase hoodies from stores such as Wal-Mart and Goodwill.
With the poor economic times and the homeless rates increasing in Stark County, places like the Refuge of Hope have been greatly impacted.
“I contacted the person who is in charge of Refuge of Hope and asked if he would accept our hoodie donations, and he was just so thankful that I contacted him and said they’re definitely in need,” she said.
Gingerich has seen first-hand the impact these simple pieces of clothing can have on the recipients when she volunteered there last year with their meal ministry.
“You’re saving lives by providing these people with hoodies and I don’t think that people realize how a hoodie can save a life, but it certainly does,” Gingerich said.
In association with the Hoodies for the Homeless program, the bookstore is having a sale on hoodies. Students will receive 25% off a hoodie when they drop off a gently-used hoodie that is in turn donated to a local homeless shelter.
Students can donate by visiting the bookstore or placing their hoodies in the boxes located across campus in the main lobbies of each dorm, outside the cafeteria, in the Barn, the library and various other locations.
If you don’t have any hoodies or money to donate, then why not check out your shoe collection? Soles 4 Souls is another program run by Enactus. This year Michelle Raber, a senior accounting and business administration major, is managing the effort.
“We’re collecting shoes until November 27. Once they’re collected, we’ll drop them off at local relief organizations that in turn provide them to children and adults who don’t have footwear,” Raber said.
This deadline allows students time to go home over Thanksgiving break and search their closets and perhaps even their siblings’ closets for unwanted shoes to bring back with them.
Last year, about 70 pairs of shoes were collected and Raber hopes to collect 100 or more. However, like the Hoodie program, the Soles 4 Souls program runs into similar road blocks.
“College students typically don’t have the money to get shoes and the shoes they have here are the ones that they wear and aren’t ones to donate,” Raber said.
So far, she has received 15 pairs of shoes. Dress shoes are acceptable and will be donated to small businesses. These businesses will repair the shoes and then sell them to get their businesses going.
There are shoe collection boxes in the library, Regula café, the cafeteria, outside of the Student Development office and outside the Business Office.
For those of you who don’t have clothing or shoes to give, there is still one more giving opportunity being run through Enactus called Hammers and Nails.
“Hammer and Nails is an organization that goes into poverty-stricken homes and helps renovate them for the owners,” junior business administration major Shane Maier said, who is managing this project.
With colder weather approaching, tasks will include mostly painting indoors. Students can help out on Saturday, November 17. Maier said he needs about 10 people and currently has three.
Giving is easy this fall! Give hoodies, give shoes, and give time.
Victoria Green is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.