The Good Soles Shoe Drive is celebrating five years of putting brand new shoes on the feet of foster children as they head back to school. This year’s drive, which has benefited Child Crisis Arizona since its inception, collected over 100 pairs of shoes while also raising thousands of dollars for children in need.
The shoe drive’s organizer, Amanda Goossen, said the community tradition has grown over the years thanks to the support of local families and friends.
“In 2017, I called Child Crisis Arizona and asked how our family could help their kids each summer with back-to-school time,” Goossen said. “It was important to me because I had an acquaintance who had benefitted from Child Crisis and their services as a child, and she told me all the good they do.”
Goossen also wanted her children to grow up knowing the importance of serving and helping others. She learned that Child Crisis, which provides shelter, foster care, adoption and support to Arizona’s youth and families, relies on regular donations of backpacks and school supplies, but one luxury item is new shoes.
“At that moment, I was feeling a little tap on my shoulder from heaven. My papa, who was also my hero, always said that ‘everyone deserves a good pair of shoes.’ I knew at that moment what our family had to do,” Goossen recalled.
The first year of the shoe drive, Goossen’s family collected around 150 pairs of shoes over two weeks. Since then, they’ve dedicated one month each summer to the shoe drive, collecting around 200 pairs each year. Cash donations from local businesses – like Bricks Dance Studio in Arcadia – have also made a difference.
“I feel like this drive not only puts shoes on the feet of the children at Child Crisis Arizona but raises awareness of child crisis in our community,” Goossen said.
This year’s drive brought in a donation of $5,000 to Child Crisis Arizona from Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s Love, Tito’s program. “I am blown away by their generosity,” Goossen said.
The shoe drive remains a family-focused event. The Goossen kids collect the shoes, pick them up from the drop-off location, organize them and deliver them to Child Crisis at the end of the summer.
“They are also the ones who scour the stores for reasonable prices and purchase the shoes with our cash donations. They’ve learned a lot over the years about finding good quality shoes at a lower price,” Goossen said. They also make sure to purchase boys, girls and unisex shoes in all sizes, so all the kids feel comfortable.
“The kids were 8 and 10 when we started. They are now 13 and 15, so it’s been a great thing for them over the years,” Goossen said, adding that without the support of the community, filling the Child Crisis shoe closet wouldn’t be possible. Goossen acknowledged the amazing efforts of Rita’s Italian Ice in Arcadia, which has been a partner since the very beginning.
“They have been a drop-off location for our shoe drive, and for every pair of shoes you drop off at their Arcadia location, they give you a free kid’s size Italian ice,” Goossen said. “Keith, the owner of Rita’s, has been a constant supporter of our shoe drive, and it has meant so much over the years. We can’t do it without them.”
Although the official shoe drive month just wrapped up, donations are still welcome and appreciated.
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