Dart collects shoes for needy

At Walking Comfort in Centerville, a typical day’s donation consists of an occasional grocery bag of gently worn shoes for the Soles4Souls donation box. But on August 20 Zac Snell, junior, came in with two garbage bags nearly bursting with pairs of shoes to donate to third world countries. There were 13 more bags just like them waiting outside.

Zac Snell, junior, stands by his collection of shoes

“I’d come in with more [bags] and their faces would get more and more surprised. They kept asking how I did it,” Snell said.

Snell collected over 230 pairs of shoes for his Eagle Scout project to donate to the organization Soles4Souls, a charity that collects gently worn shoes to give to those in need in countries like Haiti and Tanzania.

“It sounded like it would be fun to do, to see how many shoes I could possibly get. It was a competition with myself,” said Snell.

The project began in March when Snell’s Scout Master gave him the suggestion for his project. Since then, a combined 151 hours of service have been recorded from people in his community.

To collect the shoes, Snell hosted a movie night in his neighborhood. Snow cone and popcorn machines were borrowed and a neighbor offered his backyard to host the event. Admission was free—all neighbors had to do to get in was bring a pair of shoes.

“A lot of people felt it was better than giving them to the D.I. or throwing them away. They have closets full of shoes,” Snell said.

According to Soles4Souls.com, in the U.S. alone Americans throw away over 300,000,000 shoes while more than 300,000,000 children in the world live without owning a single pair. “There’s a whole bunch of kids that don’t have shoes. I’ve seen pictures—it’s very sad,” said Snell.

Snell said the project was stressful, yet very satisfying. To anyone considering a project like this, he says, “Do it. It’s lots of fun! Definitely worth it.”

For more information about Soles4Souls, go to giveshoes.org.