The Maryland Heights Centre is now a collection point for Shoeman Water Projects, a St. Louis-based charity that uses donated shoes to fund clean water programs around the world.
Shoeman accepts all types of shoes—athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops—as long as they do not have holes in them. Simply gather the shoes you no longer wear, tie each pair together or fasten them with a rubber band and drop them in the box in the Centre lobby.
The Shoeman organization then exports the shoes to street vendors in places like Haiti, Kenya and South America. The secondhand shoes are a valuable product for street vendors to sell at affordable prices. The shoes protect the new owner’s feet from foot abrasions, parasites and mites. Shoeman uses the funds generated from the shoe exports to provide well drilling rigs, water purification systems, hand pump repairs and health and hygiene training.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people globally do not have access to clean water sources, while 2.4 billion do not have access to any type of improved sanitation facility. About 2 million people die every year due to diseases related to lack of clean water and sanitation, most of them children younger than five. A significant amount of disease could be prevented through better access to safe water supply, adequate sanitation facilities and better hygiene practices.
For more information about Shoeman, visit www.shoemanwater.org