March 21, 2014
Yvonne McCool

Donate Shoes to the “Battle for the Boot” Challenge

Saint Louis University and Washington University School of Medicine continue their friendly "Battle for the Boot" this year and the University of Missouri St. Louis has joined the challenge. SLU won the trophy in previous years, collecting over 12,225 pounds of new and used shoes.

Ivory Reed, Washington University; Goerge "The Shoeman" Hutchings; Yvonne McCool, SLU

"What's more important is our combined total," said Yvonne McCool, SLU's shoe drive coordinator.

Between the 2012 and 2013 Battle for the Boot, the two universities have collected over 22,000 pounds of shoes. This year, the three universities combined have turned in over 2,100 pounds of shoes, "and we're just getting started," McCool said.

All three universities have a service component in their mission and try to find different ways to serve and give back to their communities. Shoes from the Battle for the Boot have an international impact. The shoes are donated to Shoeman Water Projects, located in Fenton, Mo., and then distributed to developing countries like Kenya and Haiti.

The funds are used to drill water wells in Kenya and Haiti, and to install water purification systems in dirty wells, McCool added.

"Not only are we helping protect feet from parasites," McCool said. "We are helping improve the health and hygiene and reduce water borne illnesses with the clean water."

Sharon Morgan, Director of Development and Corporate Education, and International Affairs, in the Department of Internal Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine, recently returned from a trip to Haiti with "The Shoeman" George Hutchings, and other volunteers with Shoeman Water Projects. It was a memorable experience.

"We bathed families who couldn't remember ever getting a bath before," Morgan said. "We scrubbed layers of dirt from their bodies, some as young as two years old."

Morgan said it was very rewarding to see all the good coming from the donated shoes, but also very humbling.

"I thought we were going over there to change their lives, but in the end, they changed my heart and my life forever," Morgan said

The shoe drive runs through May 31, 2014. If you want to help your favorite university or alumni with their shoe drive, drop those wearable shoes you don't want any more off at any of their collection sites.

"We can all make a difference in someone's life around the globe, one pair of shoes at a time," McCool said.

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