American Legion Post 459 to host Save Our Shoes Fundraiser

By Amy McNeel | 7/20/18 5:39pm

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The American Legion is currently collecting gently worn shoes to help create small businesses in developing nations.  GVL / Amy McNeel


Although the Fourth of July has passed, it’s not too late to celebrate patriotism and thank our veterans. American Legion Post 459 is a Grand Rapids nonprofit organization devoted to helping veterans, service members and the community. 

“The American Legion family is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome programs in our communities,” said Ted Terhune, American Legion Finance Officer, and Joe Hollomon, Sons of The American Legion Adjutant. “We advocate for patriotism and honor, as well as promote strong national security, and we are devoted to our fellow service members and veterans.” 

This month, Post 459 is partnering with Funds2Orgs to bring the Save our Shoes fundraiser, an event that helps both the Post and those in need. The Post is collecting gently worn pairs of shoes, sending them to the needy, and then getting reimbursed for what they collect. In turn, contributions to the fundraiser are helping both veterans and those in need. 

“Small business owners in developing nations use the gently worn, used and new shoes to help themselves out of poverty,” Terhune and Hollomon said. “The shoes collected and shipped from North America help micro-entrepreneurs create small businesses. The shoes are purchased by the micro-enterprise distributors in developing countries and then sold to individual small business owners who sell the shoes in retail settings for a profit. 

“The shoes we collect serve as a philanthropic bridge to give people a hand-up and work opportunity, rather than just a hand-out. Micro-entrepreneurs set up small businesses. They sell the shoes you gather in their communities, which creates business and commerce opportunities leading to sustainability.

“The men and women who fought in WWII are in their late 80s and 90s. The average Korean War veteran is in their 70s. We at Post 459 feel a sense of urgency to honor our veteran members. Paying for their annual membership dues seems like the least we could do to help.

“Another thing to consider is that over 600 million shoes go into landfills across the U.S. annually. The shoes that we collect will be kept from landfills in our country and will help others in developing nations start micro-enterprises that should help them create sustainable incomes for their families.”

This fundraiser is an opportunity for all people to help the cause. 

“It appealed to us because we don’t have to ask for money,” Terhune and Hollomon said. “This way donors can participate in a way that doesn’t require a monetary donation.” 

The fundraiser takes place from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. every Tuesday from July 1 through July 31. All gently worn shoes are welcome, including shoes with cleats. For more information about the American Legion Post 459 or the Save our Shoes fundraiser, go to www.post459.org or visit them on Facebook. 

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