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By Michael J. Billoni
The Rotary Club of Grand Island is extremely appreciative for everyone who has donated to its unique shoe drive fundraiser. Members spent hours last weekend in the Visitor Center filling bags of shoes that will raise much-needed funds for the club, while helping others by redistributing them throughout the Funds2Orgs network of microenterprise (small business) partners.
The club is collecting gently worn, used or new shoes of any kind through April 24 at the following locations in town:
√ Cole International, 1775 Baseline Road, Suite 280
√ Grand Island Memorial Library, 1715 Bedell Road
√ Grand Island Town Hall, 2255 Baseline Road
√ Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Road
√ M&T Bank, 2381 Grand Island Blvd.
√ St. Stephen School, 2080 Baseline Road
√ Wavelengths Salon, 1780 Grand Island Blvd., Building No. 4
In addition, the club has partnered with Fresenius Kabi on Staley Road for an internal collection, and the William Kaegebein Elementary School on Love Road for a school project, as it hopes to collect 2,500 pairs of shoes.
Funds2Orgs will issue a check to the Grand Island Rotary Club based on the total weight of the pairs of shoes it collects. The town’s long-time civic club will use those funds to support community projects.
In the past, the Rotary Club has donated funds, in-kind donations or personal volunteer hours to the Miracle League, the Family Justice Center, the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial expansion project, Relay For Life and Grand Island High School scholarships.
“This is a great fundraiser for everyone who wants to help make a difference within our community without having to spend a cent!” exclaimed Diane Garey, club secretary and chair of this fundraiser. “I am personally asking everyone I know to clean out their closets and donate their shoes they are not wearing (we all have them!). This will not only help local programs, but, more important, it will help those in need of footwear in microenterprises throughout the world.
“Rotary is awesome, and what has really made a difference and has driven donations is local residents not only donating from their own closets, but asking a relative or neighbor to do the same – and the donations have been exponential!,” she added. “I commend the St. Stephen School’s mission group, whose social consciousness has resulted in hundreds of pairs of shoes! Then there’s Fresenius Kabi on Staley Road, whose community generosity is well known, who steps up and volunteers to do an internal collection within their company of 1,000 employees, and they had 100 pairs donated before their collection officially started.”
Garey added: “Wavelengths Hair Design, another local business very in tune with and supportive of local causes, also volunteered and is not only doing an internal collection, but they are a drop-off location for anyone who wants to donate! Sue Miles from Cole International, also known as the woman who made masks for most Grand Island residents when the coronavirus pandemic began, opened their location for a public drop-off, and she has been doing social media blasts promoting it.
“All we can say is ‘Thank you’ to everyone who has helped us thus far! And there’s still plenty of time to help! Clean out your closet this weekend and text a friend or two to do the same! You can and will make a difference!”
For more information, visit https://rotaryclubgi.org or the Rotary Club of Grand Island, New York Facebook page.