Local Family On Track to Collect Half Million Shoes for Charity
It started with a few shoes. Just a small service project for a local kid. It became something bigger than she ever imagined.
When the 2010 magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, one of the calls for help was for shoe donations. Then 13-year-old Claire Frances Baker wanted to do her part, so she set out to collect 250 pairs of shoes. It wasn’t long before that 250 turned into 2,500. And 5,000. Over the years the numbers kept growing.
Claire Frances’ mom Pam says it takes 25,000 pairs of shoes to fill a 53 foot semi trailer. And she’d know, because since 2010, Claire Frances and her family have filled 17 of them.
“Our goal this year is to hit a half million,” says Pam. That’s something that should be doable – they’ve already collected 425,000.
They send the shoes to a non-profit called Soles4Souls. That group sends the shoes anywhere they’re needed in the world, from the U.S. to Africa. And they’re still sending shoes to Haiti almost a decade later.
“This is the ripple effect of one kid,” says Pam. Claire Frances, now 22 and off to college, had to leave her family in charge of collecting donations – something they’re more than happy to do.
The family never sought a reward for their efforts, but they got one anyway. The ABC reality show Vacation Creation took note, and sent the whole family to New Zealand on the trip of a lifetime. And while they loved the vacation, it’s the timing that struck them the most.
Coming Full Circle
“The coolest part about this to me is not really the vacation. It’s that our work has some profound connections that cannot be controlled by us,” says Pam. “Saturday when this show airs, is actually the 9-year anniversary of the earthquake that hit Haiti that catapulted our family into this collection to begin with.”
Their 9-year adventure isn’t done yet. Hoping to capitalize on the exposure from the show, which airs Saturday the 12th, they’ll be collecting more shoes Sunday from 3:30 to 4:30. If you have some shoes, any kind, any condition, to donate, you can find them in the back lot of Scherer Bros. Lumber in Brooklyn Park.