PLUMSTED – An effort to provide shoes to people who need them is hitting its stride in Plumsted as teenagers have set their sights on lending a helping hand.
Plumsted Youth for Nurturing the Environment (PYNE) has started a “Show Your Sole” drive and is collecting gently used shoes for homeless individuals in New Jersey.
PYNE member Ryan Devine said the “Show Your Sole” drive represents a natural expansion of the group’s community-based nature.
“Although one of the main goals of PYNE is to keep recyclable items out of landfills, helping the homeless in New Jersey, especially during the winter, became a priority to us,” Devine said. “We were … interested in helping the less fortunate and there is no better time then during this season of giving.”
Devine said the shoes that are collected will be donated to the Rescue Mission of Trenton in neighboring Mercer County.
“This organization does not just help the Trenton area, they help people from every county in New Jersey who come seeking help,” he said.
From now through Jan. 2, individuals may drop off usable men’s, women’s and children’s shoes at the Plumsted municipal building, 121 Evergreen Road; the Dr. Gerald H. Woehr Elementary School, 44 N. Main Street; and Salon Bliss, 413 Route 539.
Individuals are asked not to drop off ski boots, roller skates, in-line skates, single shoes or shoes that cannot be worn.
“We are hoping that people in our community as well as our fellow classmates are able to look in their closet and find shoes they no longer want and donate them,” Devine said.
Donated dress shoes will be sold in the Rescue Mission of Trenton thrift shop and proceeds from those sales will support the organization’s effort “to provide a safe, clean, warm refuge for the homeless, the hungry, the transient and the addicted,” according to its website.
Devine, who attends New Egypt High School, said he hopes his classmates will donate shoes.
“I have three brothers, so there are many shoes that go unworn and can be put to much better use,” he said. “Imagine if each student from the surrounding schools donated just one pair of shoes. This drive would be a huge success.”
PYNE’s goal is to collect 400 pairs of shoes by Jan. 2.
Devine said he hopes teenagers realize they can make a difference and added, “It just takes an idea and some help to pull together an effort to help the less fortunate. As teenagers, we sometimes forget how lucky we are and we need that reminder … that there are many people who need our help and we should always be willing to lend a helping hand.”