There’s a good reason they call Jennifer Pierce the shoe lady.
Her organization Share Our Shoes has raised 365,000 pairs of shoes for earthquake victims in Haiti, 27,000 pairs for flood victims in Nashville, and hundreds pairs of shoes daily for people who need them in the Triangle.
Pierce does all this through an organization that started two years ago with fliers on neighbors’ mailboxes. She was simply looking for shoes for the family of her daughter, Catelynn’s friend.
Catelynn’s friend couldn’t comeout and play because she had no suitable shoes, Pierce said. And then when Pierce visited the home, she found the make-do work boots of the girl’s father too small and the mother’s shoes duct taped together.
With that plea to neighbors, Pierce was flooded with shoes, and a mission because a calling. Today, she has a 6,500 square foot building on Capital Boulevard in Raleigh, a shoe warehouse and show room.
And now, Share Our Shoes has a presence in eastern Wake County. There are two drop-off locations in Knightdale: Progressive International Electronics at 1106 Great Falls Court, Suite G and Cathy Lee’s Daycare, 529 Bethlehem Road.
And Wendell Middle School is scheduled to become a drop-off point once school starts back.
“From Knightdale to Raleigh,from Florida to Haiti,” it’s just everybody working together,” said Pierce.
Pierce got some help expanding her 27 shoe drop-off locations with a one-woman SOS promoter Katrina Hearn.
Hearn, a saleswoman for The Cotton Exchange of Wendell, learned of Pierce’s organization at a flood victim’s benefit at the Longbranch in Raleigh.
“I carry those (SOS drop-off)boxes around in my car everywhere I go,” she said. “When I see I client, I ask them if they’d like to be a drop-off location.”
“It’s been real exciting,”said Hearn. She hopes to get the schools on board in the fall. “As fast as kids out grow their shoes, the schools would be a great spot for dropping off the shoes kids out grow.”
Hearn says almost everyone has shoes in their closet they no longer wear that other people could use.
“It’s a simple thing to do,”said Hearn. “I think she’s doing a wonderful thing. When she told me the story of a little boy coming to her house in little girls’ shoes, it just broke my heart.”
If you want to donate, visit one of the locations above or drop off shoes at Share Our Shoes warehouse, 1107 Capital Boulevard located on the Wake Avenue ramp. For more information, see shareourshoes.org.