The idea for a community shoe drive came from a Google search.
“I just was trying to come up with different ideas to make money for fundraising efforts, not repeating the same thing over and over every year,” said Kerri Chituk, president of the Mattituck-Cutchogue Elementary Parent Teacher Association. “This was a good one.”
Students at the elementary school have been working on the fundraising effort since Sept. 12 and will continue through Nov. 12.
The shoe drive is a partnership with the organization Funds2Orgs, with the idea being that rather than seeking financial donations, students work to collect gently worn, used and new shoes and sneakers. Those donations are then collected by Funds2Orgs and then redistributed to small business owners in developing countries to sell for profit to help them making a living wage.
“The more we collect, the more we end up getting back in return,” Ms. Chituk said.
Funds2Orgs, based out of Florida, gives the PTA large plastic bags each that can fit 25 pairs of shoes. The PTA’s minimum goal is 100 bags, which would equal 2,500 pairs of shoes bringing in roughly $1,000 for the PTA, depending on weight. If they collect more, the price payout per pound increases gradually and so would their overall payment.
The organization will send a truck to collect all the bags at the end of the eight-week fundraising event. Shoes are currently being stored in the school auditorium.
“[Funds2Orgs] then have partners that they work with worldwide in developing countries where they have families, that they’re calling micro-entrepreneurs, that they then clean the shoes, and they go and they sell them to make money to earn for their families and their communities to bring in money,” Ms. Chituk said.
The fundraiser is already off to a fast start.
“Just from Cutchogue East students, we have collected and bagged 54 bags so far out of 100, over halfway in just two weeks,” Ms. Chituk said.
There are various challenges at the school district to incentivize donations.
The PTA created weekly challenges at Cutchogue East to serve as a “memory jogger” throughout the eight weeks. The challenge changes each week to keep the students asking different groups of people for donations each week. They are geared toward students raising as much awareness of the fundraiser as possible.
The PTA collects, tallies and bags the shoes every Friday. The class to bring in the most donations during the week gets a non-monetary prize like a bonus recess, an extra STEAM class or an in-class WINGO session with the PTA.
The prizes act as another incentive to participate in the challenges. The class that collects the most shoes over the duration of the fundraiser will receive a pizza party from the PTA.
Ms. Chituk has been working alongside a handful of other parent volunteers and PTA board members to keep the fundraiser going, calling local businesses to see who is willing to have a collection box on site for the community, collecting the donations at all the donation sites weekly and keeping track of how much is being donated at each site and more.
She said while the PTA hopes to be able to run the fundraiser again next year, it is labor intensive for the PTA and she would need more volunteers committed to make it work.
Anyone interested in assisting can contact Ms. Chituk at 631-834-3434 or at [email protected] as well as Ryane Hoeffling at 917-717-2654.
Donations of any type of shoe that is gently worn, used and new will be accepted. The following sites can accept donations:
- Cutchogue East Elementary or Mattituck High School
- Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library
- Mattituck-Laurel Library
- Wendy’s Deli in Mattituck
- JABS in Cutchogue
- Love Lane Sweet Shoppe in Mattituck
- Staples in Riverhead
- CVS in Riverhead
- Southold Town Hall and Recreation Center in Southold