Shoe Bank Canada is a non-profit social enterprise operating in Canada and a registered charitable organization.
The Evolution of Shoe Bank Canada
After hearing the news of Haiti’s earthquake in 2010, Jim Belshaw, owner of Roy’s shoe repair, brain stormed how he could best help Haiti’s victims. Being a cobbler, he realized that they would be in great need of footwear to prevent further injury, infection, and sickness from walking through the devastation.
He and a few other members of the Sunrise Rotary Club of Kelowna got together and started a shoe drive. Within days, they had so many shoes, they had to store them in a tractor-trailer. And that was just a collection from people in Kelowna!
Having received so many shoes graciously donated, Jim was able to send much needed shoes to Haiti. He also realized through this venture that there was a sizeable need for shoes in our own community. With the amount of footwear collected, he was able to distribute to the needy in Kelownaas well as Haiti.
After this first successful shoe drive, Jim and his Rotary crew collected and stored footwear in the small backroom at Roy’s Shoe Repair. Although many were shipped overseas, he recognized a continuous need for locals: the homeless, the working poor, and children in need of shoes and boots to walk to school in, or runners to be able to participate in sports. While collecting for shoe drives, the word soon got out and agencies were calling with requests.
In July 2014, Belshaw partnered with the Kelowna Community Food Bank to house a “Shoe Bank” to give people in need better access to all the collected and sorted footwear. A month later, set up just like a shoe store and with the help of the Food Bank, Shoe Bank Canada was born and opening its doors on Ellis Street. Since then, and with the help of nearly 20 local service agencies guiding the qualifying process and handing out shoe vouchers, the shoe bank has
provided over 4,000 pairs of shoes to those in need just in in Kelowna.
Now, in 2019, as a national organization, Shoe Bank Canada has shoe drives and permanent drop-off sites across BC, Alberta and Ontario. Shoes are now distributed to 30 BC communities and growing!
WHY ARE WE NEEDED?
- In Canada 5 million people live in conditions of poverty
- 50,000+ Canadians experience hidden homelessness, suchas couch surfing, sleeping in a car, or other precarious housing
- 10% of Canadian families live below low-income cut-off
- For many families, its either food OR footwear
- Many people cannot participate in physical activities due to the lack of proper footwear
- Many men/women do not qualify for jobs due to improper footwear (steel toes boots, etc.)
- Children miss school or can not participate in sports/play time because they have shoes that are inappropriate, don’t fit, or are completely worn out leading to shame, pain, and embarrassment
- Proper footwear gives children dignity and the ability to “join in” with play,learning and fun.
- Dangers from worn out and improper footwear include injury to feet, fungus, blisters, and infection
WHO DO WE SUPPORT?
- The working poor
- People living with disabilities (15% live in poverty)
- Homeless individuals
- Single Mothers (and fathers)
- Indigenous Peoples
- Racialized families
- Displaced Immigrants
- Individuals on a fixed income
- Youth aged 16-24 (20% of the homeless population)
- Anyone who needs a decent pair of shoes!
As you can see, there are so many determining factors that cause individuals to be inneed of a decent pair of shoes. At Shoe Bank Canada, westrive to collect every type of footwear to accommodate as many individuals and as many situations as possible.
To ensure that every Canadian has access to a decent pair of shoes.
Dymon Storage has been instrumental in Shoe Bank Canada’s growing success since 2012 by donating trucking services, collection boxes and dedicated year-round staff. Dymon offers all of its facilities across Ottawa as official drop-off locations for shoe donations and partners with local organizations to host an annual shoe drive. In addition to acting as the base of operations for the Ontario chapter of Shoe Bank Canada, Dymon provides the storage space needed to sort, pack and warehouse the donated new and gently used shoes for distribution.
Dymon is also redefining its corporate social responsibility commitments. While the company grows, their commitment and integration into the communities where they operate has grown exponentially. In a relationship that is now over seven years old, Dymon plays a central role in helping Shoe Bank Canada to distribute tens of thousands of pairs of shoes to over 10,000 families in about 40 communities in Canada. While Dymon’s interests are primarily focused on supporting the Ottawa region, their involvement with SBC is creating value across the country.
“Dymon is deeply committed to the communities that have made it successful. Our employees share in that commitment, and it is through our collaborative relationship with SBC that we have been able to be more impactful in distributing new or gently used shoes to those in need,” says Steve Creighton, Dymon’s Senior Vice President.