PA Live (WBRE) — Earlier this spring, Maryann Velez, President of CEO of the United NEPA Alliance, launched a shoe drive to raise money for Affordable Housing Program. With a call to action to collect 100 bags of donated shoes and an added cash-prize incentive, Velez challenged our viewers to donate as many shoes as possible. Here’s more from UNA’s founder:

This drive will benefit Funds2Orgs, the nations largest shoe drive fundraising company. They combine altruism with environmentalism to change lives, and Velez told PA live! host, Rachel Malak, how thrilled her organization was to be contributing in this way. But why shoes?

For many people around the globe — particularly in developing countries — shoes are the primary mode of transportation. With less than 15% of these families owning cars, walking is the only way to get around, so many men, women, and children are in desperate need of shoes.

Even beyond walking around, shoes are sometimes traded for livestock and other goods in these countries, where systemic poverty is a serious concern.

That’s why many in these developing nations are taking matters into their own hands, creating their own business and economic opportunities. The shoes UNA has collected with this drive will go to micro-entrepreneurs in the developing world. They will be cleaned, repaired if necessary, and sold in these communities.

With UNA’s help, micro-entrepreneurs will go from making as little as $2 US dollars a day to over $60 a day, by selling these donated shoes.

The shoes donated by the Eyewitness News team will be shipped all over the world, repurposed, and given new life to so many.

Learn more about the United NEPA Alliance Shoe Drive HERE.