Hampden non-profit collecting shoes for kids in need

One local nonprofit wants to make sure those in need have shoes to wear before the school year begins.
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 2:17 PM EDT
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HAMPDEN, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - We are just weeks away from kids heading back to the classroom and one local nonprofit wants to make sure those in need have shoes to wear before the school year begins.

Chris Goossens and his girlfriend, Caty, have been on a mission to make sure people in need have shoes or other footwear to get around. Last December, they founded Shaping Soles and have been serving the community for at least the last eight months.

“I saw a news story about a kid in Buffalo, NY. It was a national news story. The kid couldn’t afford new shoes or new footwear and his classmates bought him a pair. For me, personally, I’ve always been kind of a sneaker head, into fashion and collecting a lot of shoes,” Goossens said.

The duo has been achieving their goals at a good pace, donating nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes - 966 to be exact - while operating out of their home in Hampden. Now, they are doing something new with their nonprofit to wrap up the summer: collecting footwear for kids in need before it is time for them to go back to school.

“School is going to be coming around in a month or so. Our donations that we get are usually a mix of the sizes and gender or not, but it’s cool to have this focus. Kids need their shoes as well,” Goossens explained. “It pains me to think about anybody not having a pair of shoes”

So far, they have collected about 250 pairs in the last two weeks for this effort.

“We just try to always help people and keep an open heart and a kind mind to people. I think this is a really cool way to do it,” Goossens noted. “Footwear is a really direct way with an immediate impact because you can’t get around without shoes.”

Right now, Goossens and Caty are asking for new and gently used shoes, including sneakers, high heels, boots and sandals and the couple hopes to expand their mission after school begins.

“I’m really glad to be spreading the message with the common goal of just helping out people because people need that,” Goossens added.

The back to school effort will conclude with a shoe drive at 4Run3 in East Longmeadow on August 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can CLICK HERE for more information on Shaping Soles.