Nearly 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water, according to a 2014 study released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. That's more than 1 out of every 10 people who inhabit this earth. "Of these, almost a quarter (173 million) rely on untreated surface water," the study says, "and over 90% live in rural areas."
That's why, for the fourth consecutive year, St. Ann's WATCH program, in partnership with The Iona Group and Float, are co-sponsoring a shoe drive from August 1-31 throughout central Illinois to help provide clean drinking water for those in need.
All shoes collected - flip-flops, sandals, tennis shoes, clogs, dress shoes, garden shoes, etc. - will be donated to WaterStep, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help many of the world's problems by providing access to clean water. WaterStep then sells the shoes to an exporter, and the funds raised from the sale of shoes go to WaterStep's work of providing safe water solutions to people in third-world communities and disaster-hit areas. They do this by providing their own water treatment systems, offering health and hygiene education, and training people who go into areas with unclean water about how to do water projects.
The exporter then sells the shoes to entrepreneurs from developing countries to provide a sustainable living for their families. Additionally, shoes improve residents' overall health by protecting them from abrasions, parasites and mites. Here at home, closets are cleaned out and landfill waste is reduced.
Donating new or used shoes to WaterStep helps provide a sustainable supply of safe drinking water for one person, one family, and one community at a time. Just a few minutes spent collecting old shoes from closets, basements or garages can make a real difference - a difference that ultimately saves lives.
This year, we have an aggressive goal of 30,000 pairs of shoes to support WaterStep's mission. Since 2012, with the support of the local community, nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes have been donated to this worthwhile endeavor.
For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit the website above.
For more information, call Denise Henderson at the number above.