A group of students from several schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties came together to organize a shoe drive to benefit the homeless and poor in our community. Through the Loving Soles non-profit organization, the students collected over 5,000 pairs of shoes that were donated to Camillus House, an organization whose mission is to serve those most in need in South Florida.

Three siblings led the shoe collection and drive efforts. Sophia, Susanna and Christopher Inguanzo have been involved with Loving Soles since 2013. Last year, they coordinated a shoe drive in their hometown of Miami Lakes that resulted in over 2,000 pairs of shoes being collected. This year, the Inguanzo family reached out to several other cities in Miami-Dade and Broward counties and asked if they would join in the month-long shoe drive, which ran from February 12 through March 15, 2021.

Cities including Village of Pinecrest, Town of Golden Beach, City of Sunny Isles Beach, Bal Harbour Village, North Bay Village, Town of Surfside, and Town of Southwest Ranches all accepted the challenge and set up collection bins throughout their communities, in their city halls and community centers. Several local schools participated as well and included public, charter and parochial schools. Bob Graham Education Center in Miami Lakes collected nearly 400 pairs of shoes.

Over 200 shoes were collected at the City of Hialeah’s charter Educational Academy (COHEA). Students from several schools in the Archdiocese of Miami, including Our Lady of the Lakes, Mother of our Redeemer, Monsignor Edward Pace High School, and Archbishop Edward McCarthy High School donated over 1,500 pairs of shoes collectively. This year’s drive ended on March 15th which is “National Shoe the World Day” – a day which highlights the value of providing footwear to the millions of people around the world who do not have shoes.

Student volunteers from several schools gathered on Saturday, March 20, 2021 in Miami Lakes to help sort, clean and pack the shoes for Camillus House. Camillus House CEO Hilda Fernandez, Camillus House Board Chairman Paul Lowenthal and Camillus House Chief Operations Officer Bob Lozada attended the collection event and helped the students sort and pack the shoes into a large Camillus House truck. There were so many shoes that they did not all fit in the truck and they returned the next day to pick up the remaining shoes. The students hope to continue with the Loving Soles collection efforts and are already planning for next year’s shoe drive with a goal of involving more cities and schools.


Source: Community Newspapers

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