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Wanted: 255,639 Pairs of Shoes

George "The Shoeman" Hutchings hopes enough shoes can be located in the next few weeks to meet his organization's goal of providing water for those who thirst.

Miracles happen every day when Shoeman Water Projects turn donated shoes into clean drinking water for those who thirst in developing countries. But with less than one month to collect the final 255,639 pairs of shoes to meet the Fenton-based organization’s goal of 1 million pairs in 2011, George “the Shoeman” Hutchings, president of Shoeman Water Projects, may need a double dose of holiday magic.

The Shoeman is searching in every corner of the St. Louis metro area and beyond to bring in enough shoes by the end of 2011 to purchase a new, stronger rig that can drill through granite and bore deeper wells in arid Kenya and south Sudan. The Shoeman will be returning to Kenya in January with a water mission team. Immediate shoe donations are needed.

Schools, churches, and businesses are asked to help by holding holiday drives and/or becoming a drop off location. Individuals can help by cleaning out their closets, and dropping off shoes at one of more than 200 of Shoeman’s drop-off locations in Missouri, Southern Illinois, Kansas City, and Louisville, KY. To find a drive near you, go to www.shoeman.org/donate-shoes where you can search by zip code.

“A simple donation of a pair of shoes to Shoeman Water Projects is a life saving gift with long term benefits,” said Julie Scaglione, director of community relations for Shoeman Water Projects. “It’s a perfect way to help others over the holidays without having to spend more than the time it takes to find a pair of shoes you no longer need and drop them off at a nearby location. My experience in Haiti as a member of a water mission team was eye-opening. There are people who drink from contaminated water sources every day, and we have the opportunity to change that with the shoes we collect. It’s remarkable to actually see the results when clean fresh water flows. This drive will make a big difference for many.”

“We never dreamed two years ago when we heard about Shoeman Water Projects on a Christian radio station and got involved that we would be going to Haiti last March, and that Shoeman Water Projects would be providing the water purification system for the school. It’s an answer to a prayer, a miracle really,” said Judi Waller.

Shoes collected are sold to retailers in third world countries who provide affordable footwear for people who need shoes to protect their feet against parasites, abrasions and infection. All types of shoes are needed, (flats, heels, boots, sandals, athletic shoes, etc.), but they must be free of rips or holes and should be tied or rubber banded together when dropped off. Proceeds from the sales go to dig wells and provide water purification systems for those who thirst.

Since August 2008, Shoeman Water Projects has collected 1.8 million pairs of shoes that have thus far, resulted in the purchase of 4-water-well drilling rigs, more than 250 wells, water purification system installations and well pump repairs that serve more than 200,000 people.

Local dropoff sites include:

City Drop-off Site Address Phone Foristell Centerfields Convenience Store Hwy T & D
Foristell Foristell Christian Church 1051 S. Service Road East 636-673-7250 Lake Saint Louis 400 Lakeside Lake 636-978-1801 Lake Saint Louis 21 Meadows Circle 636-561-2204 O'Fallon 2140 Bryan Valley Commercial 636-978-3321 St. Charles Incredible Engravings, Inc. 50 Triad S Dr. 636-441-4811 St. Peters 105 N. Service Rd. 636-970-4200 St. Peters 4101 Mexico Road 636-441-4655 St. Peters 234 Mid Rivers Center 636-397-8336 St. Peters PPG Porter Paint 330 Mid Rivers Mall Drive 636-970-0701 St. Peters
4110 South Service Road Wentzville 402 South Church Street 636-332-2453

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