VINELAND – The Cumberland County SPCA is eager to convert your unwanted shoe stash into much needed shelter cash.
Through an established relationship with the WoofTrax app, the shelter staff is now participating in a new fundraising opportunity.
Wooftrax Shoes for Shelters & Rescue purchases new or gently used footwear from shelters at a bulk rate.
So the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is hosting a shoe drive, asking the community to bring in their old soles.
“They donate shoes to us, we bag them up,” said shelter staffer Kelly Serbeck. “We’ve gotten about a 100 pairs and we’ve only been collecting for about three or four days.”
WoofTrax repurposes the shoes as an entrepreneurial enterprise.
“They send them to places like Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where they set people up with stands so they can sell them,” Serbeck said.
Everyone can help.
“They take anything; flip flops, work books, sandals, heels and sneakers,” she said, noting all sizes, including children’s shoes are accepted.
The SPCA is looking for partners and businesses who will set up donation bins and serve as collection sites.
They have until Nov. 5 to collect as many shoes as possible. The goal is to reach 2,500 pair of shoes, which would net them about $1,000, Serbeck said.
“Apparently it’s been around for a little while but this is our first time,” Serbeck said.
They discovered it through its connection to the WoofTrax “Walk for a Dog” program where people raise money for their animal shelters by downloading the free “Walk for a Dog” app.
The app uses GPS to track the distance of your walk and the shelter you select gets a donation, which is based on the quantity and distances of the shelter’s registered walkers.
It’s not necessary to be walking a dog to earn the shelter funds. The app, through its “Walk for Cassie” option, allows you to create a dream dog.
Other options include volunteering to walk a shelter dog, or adopting one, the SPCA said.
WoofTrax encouraged shelters to promote the dog-walking fundraiser when the Pokémon Go craze hit. They reminded supporters “to log their miles while they are out Poké hunting, they could be racking up miles for your shelter,” Serbeck said.
While chasing the Pokemon promotion, Serbeck said they discovered the shoe fundraiser.
It’s a good idea because it reaches a wide audience, Serbeck said, noting they are asking people to open their closets, not their wallets.
The timing is good with local families out back-to-school shopping.
Benefits of the fundraiser are tri-fold, said Catherine Shepherd, the shelter’s volunteer/events coordinator. People clean a closet and help someone support their family all while raising money for the shelter.
“It’s a win, win, win,” she said.
Deborah M. Marko: (856) 563-5256; firstname.lastname@example.org