by Lisa Linn de Barona, DPS Special Projects Manager
In celebration of Earth month, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in partnership with Ben Franklin Elementary School (BFE), collected shoes, boots, and sneakers of all shapes, sizes and seasons to benefit Soles4Souls. The Nashville-based charity, founded in 2006, collects new and used shoes and redistributes them through direct donations to people in need and through microenterprise partners.
The collection was hosted in the DPS lobby on 200 Elm Drive, and was initiated and organized by Analis Barona Linn, BFE first grade sustainability ambassador, and her mother, Lisa Linn de Barona, DPS Special Projects Manager. “We put up a few flyers and sent some emails to colleagues and the response was extremely positive,” explained the organizers. It took 3 car loads to transport the 70+ bags from campus to the school located on Princeton Pike.
Mrs. Carlee Cimorelli, the BFE liaison wrote, “Thank you so much for your overwhelming donation this morning for Soles4Souls. I organized the fundraising efforts this year and could not be more thrilled with the results. Ben Franklin will be donating over 1,500 pairs of shoes to the Soles4Souls organization. The kids were so excited to participate, and even more excited when they saw the amount of shoes we collected!”
These are shoes that will stay out of landfills for longer, and assist families around the world where Soles4Souls currently works. Principal William (BJ) Meurer explained, “That’s enough shoes to go around the school hallways nearly 3 times!” BFE encourages students to take care of self, peers, their school, their community and our earth. There are already efforts under way to coordinate a similar event next April 2018, so don’t throw out your shoes – donate them!