My Catholic elementary school used to send boxes of used clothing and shoes to missionaries at the end of each school year. I know it was well intentioned—and definitely needed—but I remember how depressing the boxes looked, filled with frayed clothing and dirty sneakers. It just doesn’t seem fair when half the world’s population is wearing the cast-offs of richer countries. That’s what makes Croc’s SolesUnited program so different—by recycling worn-out Crocs donated by customers in the States, they send brand-new shoes to people who need them. For many of the 1.5 billion people in the world who live barefoot, or just $1 a day, a pair of shoes is as important as medicine (protected feet mean less infections) or transportation (it’s a lot harder to walk to work or school when you’re barefoot). Because Crocs are durable, lightweight, waterproof and anti-microbial, they’re perfectly suited to life in the Caribbean and Africa, two areas where SolesUnited has been particularly active.But Crocs can’t do the job alone—the success of programs like SolesUnited depend on the involvement of customers like you. Find a drop-off location near you, and give your worn-our shoes a second life, instead of sending them to the landfill.
Amber Paulina Walker is a body and energy worker studying Holistic Psychology in the PNW.