What To Do With 130 Pairs Of Shoes

Loading up the shoes for delivery.
Loading up the shoes for delivery.

A little over a year ago I received a call from a gentleman who owned an orthopedic appliance business. He said that he had a large quantity of brand new orthopedic shoes that he needed to donate for a tax write off.

Someone had told him about SCIF’s Blue Bag program. With the Alabama Chapter being a 501 (c) 3 organization, we could issue a tax write off for donations. I gladly accepted his offer of the donation.

We met at Ralph Marcum’s electric company where we store our extra mounts for our mobile Sensory Safari. I was expecting maybe 20 or 30 pairs, but I was pleasantly surprised when he opened the back of his van. Inside were approximately 130 pairs of shoes in all sizes and styles, all new in the boxes.

Knowing that our chapter could not distribute this many shoes in Blue Bags in many years, I got the word out to the SCIF Humanitarian Services Committee, of which I am a member. There was a definite interest.

Sorting and stacking the donated shoes.
Sorting and stacking the donated shoes.

Over the months the word about the shoes was sent out many times, but no one from a chapter would come forward with an interest to take some of these shoes from us. At the Board meeting in Washington, D.C., Mike Drewnowski approached me about the shoes. He said he thought he knew of a hospital in Pennsylvania that needed these shoes. Larry Steiner also said that he would like some of the shoes for their Blue Bag program. They asked if I could take some pictures of the shoes for them to see.

Upon returning to Alabama, my wife, Janice, and I went to Marcum Electric and sorted the boxes according to size. We documented the sizes and how many of each size we had. We also put about 20 shoes of different styles on a table and photographed them. This information was sent to Mike and Larry. They said that they wanted them for sure.

Alabama Chapter member Allen Brooks and I were planning a trip to Nescopeck, Pennsylvania to attend Bobby Hart’s Long Range Shooting School. We would be within 2 ½ hours of Mike’s home. We asked him if he could meet us in Milton, Pennsylvania and get the shoes from us. He gladly accepted this offer as it would save him about 950 miles of driving each way if he had to come to Alabama to pick them up.

On June 10, 2015, Allen and I loaded the shoes, placing 10-12 boxes in 54 gallon heavy duty garbage bags in case it would be raining on our way to Pennsylvania. We drove almost 15 hours and overnighted in Milton. The next morning around 9 a.m., Mike met us and we loaded the shoes into his truck. We then headed to Nescopeck and Mike headed to Erie.

Mike and Amy delivered the shoes to the Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in Erie where they will be put to good use.–Randall Bush

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