CANTON - A new recycling project at St. Lawrence University is making great strides this winter.
Since December, roughly 550 pairs of gently-used footwear have been donated to ShoeBox Recycling, a fundraiser organized by SLUs athletic department.
It has been very successful. Its definitely been well received, said Ethan R. Townsend, SLUs Nordic ski coach and chairman of the athetic departments Sustainability Committee.
ShoeBox Recycling, a for-profit company based in Fairless, Pa,, will pay 50 cents a pound for the donated footwear.
Mr. Townsend estimates that so far the project has generated between $250 and $300.
In turn, the athletic department will donate the funds to Cantons Church and Community Program, which runs a food pantry that supplies food and emergency funding to low-income Canton area families and individuals.
As far as student participation, the project was particularly successful with the universitys track and field team, which donated more than 200 pairs of running shoes and other footwear.
Wed like to get more student involvement so we may keep one or two collection boxes out until the end of the school year, Mr. Townsend said.
A collection box will remain at the fitness center for community members who want to donate gently-used footwear.
Kate Curran, head womens track and field coach, said competitive runners can only put about 300 miles on their running shoes before they need a new pair. Often, the footwear still looks new and is suitable for daily wear and walking.
A lot of our kids go through training shoes pretty fast, but their shoes still have a lot of life in them, Ms. Curran said. I think people are happy to donate their shoes rather than throw them away.
She said its also been enjoyable to participate in a different fundraiser that relies on collecting used footwear rather than money donations.
Its not the regular, old fundraiser where you have to ask people for money, she said.
Several boxes from SLU filled with shoes, boots, sneakers, cleats and more have already been sent by FedEx to the ShoeBox Recycling warehouse.
From there, the footwear is distributed to high-poverty places around the world where its sold at affordable prices to local vendors.
More information about ShoeBox Recycling can be found at www.shoeboxrecycling.com.