NEWBURYPORT — Hope Community Church is spearheading a 40-day shoe collection drive with Shoeman Water Projects (SWP), a nonprofit that helps communities around the world by providing clean water to developing countries from shoe donations.
Beginning on April 7 and continuing through May 18, churches, schools and businesses in four towns within Essex County will be accepting gently used shoes. Any type of shoe will be accepted, provided they do not have holes in them.
Shoeman Water Projects gathers donated shoes and exports them to street vendors in South America, Haiti, Kenya and other places where people need affordable shoes. The money received from exporting the shoes is used to purchase well drilling rigs, water purification systems and other supplies to bring clean, fresh water.
Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related illness, 780 million people lack access to clean water in the world, and 3.41 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes, according to water.org.
Shoeman Water Projects has collected over 3 million shoes since 2008. This equates to more than 250 wells drilled and a pump repair program, all serving more than 210,000 people in clinics, schools and villages across the globe.
“When I learned that a large portion of the world’s population lacks clean water, I felt compelled to take action, said Matthew Dunphy of Hope Community Church in a press release. “Partnering with Shoeman Water Projects made perfect sense. Something as simple as donating used shoes can help alleviate many kinds of suffering. Through this project, people without shoes get them for an affordable price and people thirsting in the world get a clean water source.”
Over the course of 40 days, each church, school and business will be collecting gently used shoes. Any type of shoe will be accepted, provided they do not have holes in them. Containers can be found at each of the locations. Shoes should be tied, rubber-banded or bagged together.
First Congregational Church, 7 Andover St.
New Life Community Church, 186 E. Main St.
Perley Elementary School, 51 North St.
Penn Brook Elementary School, 68 Elm St.
Georgetown Middle/High School, 11 Winter St.
Hope Community Church, 11 Hale St.
River Valley Charter School, 2 Perry Way
Covenant Christian Academy, 83 Pine St.
Bradford Christian Academy, 97 Oxford Ave.
To learn more about the Essex County shoe drive, call Barbara Dunphy at 978-777-5761 or Tara Watts at 603-978-1156. isit Shoeman Water Projects to learn more about the organization at www.shoemanwater.org.