McIntyre Library and the Student Office of Sustainability, or SOS, have worked together to create the fourth annual Soles4Souls shoe drive.

Beginning with Earth Claire on Monday, the UW-Eau Claire shoe drive will continue through the end of the spring semester. Students and staff can drop off their shoes at the library all semester to donate.

Jenna Vande Zande, User Services Assistant in the Communications Library, helped coordinate the campaign by working with SOS and the organization where the shoes will be donated. She also helped determine which shoes can be donated.

“It’s any shoe, any size, any style and really any wear. They are new and used shoes,” said Vande Zande. “The metric used by Soles4Souls for what they would consider soft use is if you borrow it from a friend.”

According to Soles4Souls website, the company is dedicated to collecting shoes and clothing to bring relief, fight poverty and protect the planet.

This business started as a relief effort after Hurricane Katrina, according to their website. They then continued to collect shoes and expanded into most clothing items.

The company recovers the objects it has collected and donates them to homeless people, resells them to micro-enterprises in less developed countries for resale or incinerates objects that are too worn out so that they do not end up in the dump.

Also, according to their website the company has donated a total of 73,310,172 pairs of shoes and apparel as of this writing.

Soles4Souls has several ways for people to get involved in their website. They allow individuals and organizations to create shoe drives, donate shoes, become company ambassadors, partner with them, raise funds and volunteer.

According to the US Department of Interior, Americans throw away at least 300 million pairs of shoes a year. These shoes end up in junkyards and landfills and the shoes take 30-40 years to decompose.

The Mcintyre Library and SOS set up this shoe reader to keep shoes from going to landfills or going to companies that “say” they will be recycled.

“Shoes are made with so many different versions of plastics and rubbers that it’s almost impossible to separate them into their basic parts once they’re put together,” Vande Zande said.

The shoe drive works with Soles4Souls as an ethical opportunity to donate shoes across the world to those in need.

Student Office of Sustainability media intern Evelyn Nelson helped out at the Earth Claire event where the Soles4Souls shoe drive will begin.

“You can join the library table at the event and any shoes donated to this campaign will turn shoes into a reusable opportunity that people around the world can use,” Nelson said.

The shoe drive over the past three years has collected over 3,200 pairs of shoes according to the event page.

Again, collection will continue through the end of the semester and all donations can be made to the Mcintyre Library whenever the library is open.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected]