United Way for Cortland County Has a Successful Sneaker Drive!

Live Shoenited shoe painted and displayed outside the United Way offices at 50 Clinton Ave. (Photo from United Way for Cortland County).

The United Way for Cortland County collected over 400 pairs of sneakers in their Live ShoeNited sneaker drive through a community wide effort. The OCM Boces Construction Technologies class designed and created giant wooden sneakers and area organizations painted and displayed them around town to help publicize the drive. Sixteen local banks, credit unions, gyms and organizations hosted a collection box. Cortland National Honor Society students and SUNY Cortland Alpha Phi Delta fraternity members picked up the collection boxes and delivered them to a warehouse space provided by the JM Murray Center. Students from William George Agency sorted the sneakers into categories and sizes.

Bags of sneakers ready to be shipped to the sneaker wholesaler. (Photo from United Way for Cortland County).

“The sneaker drive is yet another example of how committed our community members, including students, are to improving the lives of our neighbors in need,” said Christella Yonta, Executive Director of the United Way. “It was great to see adults and youth working together for a common cause. The students’ enthusiasm and willingness to jump in wherever needed made a huge difference.”

According to Campaign Associate Elizabeth Webster, the sneaker drive kicked off in November, and went through the end of December 2019.

The collected sneakers found homes near and far.

  • Over 150 pairs of children’s and youth sneakers, shoes and boots were distributed to multiple organizations and schools in the County. That footwear will end up on the feet of area children and families.
  • Over 250 pairs of adult sneakers were shipped out to a sneaker recycling organization, who will compensate the United Way for each pair of wearable sneakers. Money raised will support programs and services throughout Cortland County.
  • The sneaker recyclers will distribute wearable sneakers to families in developing countries who will sell them to support their families and start their own micro-enterprise.
  • Sneakers without mates or that have excessive wear (about 12%) are recycled into playground mulch and athletic surfaces in the USA.

Yonta said, “The Live Shoenited sneaker drive perfectly illustrates our mission of improving the lives of individuals and families in Cortland County by uniting the resources of donors, volunteers, and agencies.”

This is a press release from United Way for Cortland County.