Would you donate used shoes?

quandaryNovember 5, 2009

Tonight there was a flyer taped to my door from Green Eyes in Africa. It said, "We don't want your money, just your unwanted shoes -- all sizes and conditions."

In the past, I've only donated shoes which were brand new, but never worn -- didn't fit right, didn't go with anything or just not my style. I know it's stupid to buy those in the first place, but I have.

DH and I made a cursory pass through our closets and boxed up 19 pair of boots and shoes from really worn to new condition. We really needed to get rid of these.

I googled the organization, and they actually appear to be legitimate, so I went through my closet again and found another 10 pair. It feels great to get rid of 29 pair of shoes, and if it helps orphans in Africa, that's even better! They're coming tomorrow, and the shoes are boxed up and on the porch, so it's unlikely I'll retrieve any of them.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hooray for you! In the past, I would only donate new shoes, like some I bought but they didn't go with my wardrobe,etc.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What's even better: they said they take shoes in any condition, and they pick up! That way, if they can't use them, they have to dispose of them, not you! And somehow, when I see programs about the poverty in Africa, I think someone can use your shoes even if they're not in top shape.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My enthusiasm is dampened just a little. They didn't come by today, so I have two big boxes of shoes on my front porch. I e-mailed them, and they said they'd be by within a few days. I really wanted them gone, because I'm having company this weekend.

I do hope that these shoes will be put to good use. Some of them I think would be practical. I'm not sure, though, that impoverished Africans would have any more use for 4 inch red heels than I do! What the heck was I thinking when I bought those!?!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2009 at 6:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

gently used ones yes..or those that we bought and didn't like the way they fit us so we just wouldn't wear them..for sure..i remember hearing stories about missionaries and foreigners who said they never wanted to come to America cause they saw all the rubbish that was sent to missionaries and they didn't want to go somewhere where people wore those ugly things.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Uh-oh! Ronbre, you're tempting me to drag those boxes back inside and reassess. Some of those shoes would probably be considered rubbish, as I certainly wouldn't offer them to friends or family. I was hoping that someone with the charity might sort through and weed out the inappropriate donations, however, they may not have the manpower to do that.

If I get my housecleaning done in time, I might just go out on the porch with a garbage bag and do it there. The chances of that happening would greatly improve if I'd stay off the computer!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2009 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the shoes are usable, by all means, donate them. Usable means functional, not stylish. However, don't rely on the charity to sort through your junk. These people are likely volunteers working to help the poor, not wannabe closet organizers. If you have ripped or torn shoes or ones with holes in them, just toss them out yourself.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 10:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Definitely donate them, and don't be embarrassed to give used shoes. If a person has no shoes, anything that fits is good, used or new! And not just orphans either.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 10:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The shoes were picked up yesterday. I didn't go through them again, but I feel good about donating them. Some of the shoes were well worn, but none had holes in them. Many of them were practically new, but maybe not practical for the donees (high heels, etc.). There were several pairs of men's leather loafers that my husband said were too loose, but they were still in good enough condition that they could be useful to someone.

I went to the website and saw a picture of a woman with 2 liter plastic bottles split in half lengthwise strapped to her feet. I'm sure that was an extreme example, but I hope these shoes will be put to good use. I don't donate anything that should be thrown away, but sometimes it's hard to know what exactly the charity is looking for. I don't want my donation to create more burden than benefit to the charity. I believe I did the right thing here.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2009 at 11:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have some very dear friends-Phil and Janice Wagner in Texas who have built an orphanage in Africa for children whose parents have lost the fight to AIDS. "Through the Storm Ministries" have been collecting shoes and Bibles and distributing them for several years now. One look on their website will open your eyes and hearts to the needs we only heard about as kids. Many of these people have never owned a pair of shoes or a Bible, and are so grateful for them!
I would love for everyone to see this!
I don't know how to post a link- throughthestorm.org

    Bookmark   November 15, 2009 at 12:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You can donate shoes in any condition, even worn out ones. Believe it or not, there are companies that recycle the components in worn out shoes. The charity can sell the worn out ones to the recyclers.

We have 2 boxes at work for shoe charities, and they want all shoes in any condition. It's a great way to get rid of either "mistakes" or worn out shoes.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2009 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Goodwill and places like them will take used shoes. They don't have to be in great condition either. Lots of people with jobs that ruin shoes buy beaters there and wear them.

Of course they sell shoes that are in mint condition too.

Shoes that no one would want are sent to recycling plants.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 2:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the charity says "any shoes, any condition" then they mean it.

When the shoes get to Africa they probably sort out the practical shoes in OK condition that can be given immediately to poor people and people in refugee camps, and then take the rest to one of the local cobblers and get him to fix up the fixable practical ones in exchange for being allowed to keep and sell the impractical ones (price six inch stilettos low enough and even an African farmer's wife will consider owning a pair) and keep and dismantle the unrepairable ones for parts.

Cobblers in Africa are making shoes out of old tires, rope, coke bottles, plaited plastic bags. The average lot of worn out shoes an American family throws away in a year must look to an African cobbler like a recycling wonderland of re-usable buckles, grommets, strips of leather, bits of elastic, still-good innersoles etc.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't donate shoes to Africa, but I do donate them to the local Goodwill. I have bought many pairs of shoes at local thrifts, some used, sometimes they're new. One time I got a used pair of NAOT shoes at a thrift store. I was thrilled to have gotten them. I could not afford them new and I always wanted to try them. they were great! I also got another pair of what had been expensive shoes. After that I ordered shoes (sometimes used, sometimes new) on ebay, because I could not afford these particular shoes new. I am happy I did that. Yes, I donate used shoes!! And buy them, too. :-)

    Bookmark   November 25, 2009 at 9:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

All shoes that aren't worn to shreds, yes. Old shoes and clothes are sold by the shipping container to recyclers and international used-clothes dealers. Ever wonder why people deep in the Amazon and in African villages wear old American T-shirts? That's why.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 1:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Dh and I went on a mission trip to Colombia several years ago and we worked on a job site to build a Christian school. There were local workers there too and we worked under them.
The whole team (17?) left their work shoes for the workers on the last day and they all seemed grateful for them.
I wore flip flops back to the hotel that evening and it was humbling to realize that some of them had no shoes.
We were not, by any means, in one of the worst areas of the globe either.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 8:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shoes - I agree that if you have no shoes, you aren't going to care if they aren't new.

I spoke with a woman at a charity shop who told me that shoes and clothing that don't sell after a set period, are shipped to impoverish countries, and that the acrylic sweaters, because there isn't big need for sweaters, are cut up and used as filling in quilts.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 8:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Making straw sandals is easy and usually free, but it appears to have become lost knowledge. Leather soled "Roman" sandals are also easy to make. Even the classic Mexican huarache can be made out of old tires and other scrap.

Maybe a class in how to make their own shoes would be better.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would think the main problems are getting the shoes where they need to be. Aside from shoes usable only for the remaining raw materials, I think I have a good idea of what is "wearable" vs. not. I don't think of kinda used, not-pristine shoes as not good enough or even that "they're good enough for poor people" Instead I agree with dilly dally that one would expect people need all sorts of shoes for all sorts of jobs and uses--right shoe, right job--just as here I wear pretty raunchy shoes to work in the garden and then another pair to go out, or if your shoes get soaking wet, it's great to have a spare pair. Plus, many people would be putting their shoes to hard use and need replacements often. I would hope that people in these other countries (or in the U.S., for that matter) don't think of usably-used shoes as being from fat-cat, ugly Americans but say, hey, these will be great in the rainy season, or for plowing the field, and these I can save to wear to school, or whatever. Maybe I am just naive! Of course it is important to give $$ for or give new or good-looking shoes and clothing as well so other people can have the joy and pride in wearing something nice when they want or need to. I grew up in the day when our moms were still having us "change" from school clothes to play clothes--the play clothes might be getting too short or a bit raggedy. Nowadays I don't know that kids do that as much, as they seem to have more "control" over their clothing.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 11:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Donating shoes is a GREAT thing! Our church just had the kids bring their old shoes for a teen who was travelling to Nicaragua on a missions trip to take with her to give to children there.

Yes, even old shoes you wouldn't wear. Because if the alternative is no shoes, stepping on something, developing tetanus and dying, I really don't think a person will mind if there are even a couple of holes!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 11:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

re "appropriate" shoes for Africa

You would be amazed at how so many low income people still have a nice outfit stashed away, and at a wedding or other event can be beautifully dressed. Dressy shoes are indeed worn in all countries; everyone likes to look nice now and then.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 10:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I buy all my shoes secondhand.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

our church just did a collection of 'all shoes, all sizes' to be donated to Fijji. The timing was great - my closet needs cleaning!

Next round of cleaning will be work clothes - for Dress for Success program

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 10:58PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Loved This Book!
I just (quickly!) read "The Life-Changing Magic...
Why I look in the box before tossing
One of the boxes I recently sorted through was marked...
Best Closet Organizer to install yourself
Which closet organizer is your favorite. We will install...
Get rid of cookbooks, and cook more?
About a year ago, I got rid of most of my cookbooks...
Where to donate a 15yo nebulizer
Years ago, when my now-17-y-o was a little one, he...
Sponsored Products
Finley Headboard - 51L543
$92.95 | Hayneedle
Indulgence Cut and Sculpted Cotton Tufted Bath Rug
Charcoal Reese Counter Stool
Cost Plus World Market
'There Is No Place Like Home' Framed Art Print
$79.99 | zulily
Hubbardton Forge Finn 19 1/2" Wide Dark Smoke Pendant
Lamps Plus
2NFLS-W600-VCT series Variable Color Temperature Double Row LED Flexible Light
Super Bright LEDs
Dark Sky Essen 1-Light Bronze Post Lamp
Sjanse Chair in Purple
$169.99 | Dot & Bo
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™