Shoe drive to aid micro-businesses in poor countries

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Church of the Palms UMC is conducting a shoe drive through April 30 to raise funds for their choir to perform at a special concert in New York City. Collected shoes will then be sent to micro-entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Shoes will be collected at the church, 1425 Okatie Highway, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to noon Fridays.

Church of the Palms Choir has been invited to participate in a Distinguished Concerts International of New York concert on Dec. 2 at Carnegie Hall, and seeks to raise $36,000 to cover performance and travel expenses.

Church of the Palms is partnering with Funds2Orgs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing economic opportunities in developing countries. The organization collects shoes that might otherwise end up in landfills and recycles them to small businesses in poor countries.

The shoe drive will earn funds for the choir based upon the total weight of pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes collected. Funds2Orgs will issue a check to Church of the Palms for the collected shoes, and then donated shoes will be redistributed throughout the Funds2Orgs network of micro-enterprise (small business) partners.

Funds2Orgs works with these entrepreneurs helping them create, maintain and grow their small businesses in countries where economic opportunity and jobs are limited.

In developing nations, shoes are essential for the prevention of disease. The donated shoes become inventory for the micro-enterprise entrepreneurs.

Proceeds from sales of the shoes are then used to feed, clothe and house families of these small business owners. One budding entrepreneur in Haiti even earned enough to send her son to law school.

"We are excited about our shoe drive," said Norma Brown, Church of the Palms music director. "We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets that they would like to donate to us. By doing so, we can raise money for our Carnegie Hall concert performance and have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It's a win-win for everyone!"

In the U.S. alone, more than 600 million pairs of shoes are thrown away each year. Materials used to manufacture a pair of shoes are created from chemical compounds that will create health hazards if left to disintegrate openly or in landfills.

By donating one's gently worn, used and new shoes to the Church of the Palms shoe drive, the shoes are given a second chance to make a difference in people's lives around the world.

For more information about the shoe drive, call Church of the Palms at 843-379-1888. For more information about Funds2Orgs, visit Funds2Orgs.com.

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