The Shoeman Water Projects, a non-profit charity, worked with Saint Louis University and Washington University to compete for the Battle of the Boot. This friendly competition pinned school against school to collect the most new or used shoes.
The shoes will get a second life in Kenya, Haiti and Chile, and their sale will fund drills or water filtration systems that can access fresh, clean water.
The competition began April 9 and and concluded May 23. During this time the two schools worked to collect shoes throughout their campuses.
Saint Louis University won the coveted boot when they were able to collect 5,223 pounds of shoes. Washington University collected 4,996 pounds of shoes. Collectively they gathered 10,219 pounds of shoes.
“It was inspiring to see our two universities come together for such an important cause,” said Ken Fleischmann, J.D., vice president for human resources at Saint Louis University. “What matters most isn’t who won this competition, but the lives that will be transformed and improved because of our collective efforts.”
The award ceremony was held Wednesday, June 6 at the Shoeman Water Projects warehouse in Fenton where all the shoes were gathered and prepared to ship out. Representatives from both schools were on hand to see the thousands of shoes and to reignite the challenge again.
“We are looking for new ways to collect shoes to help raise funds for clean water,” said Ivory Reed, Washington University Director of Support Services. “This is going to be an annual event and look forward to collecting even more shoes next time.”
The Medical School has had much success in the past supporting Shoeman Water Projects with 5,155 pounds of shoes donated.
Shoeman Water Projects collects an estimated one million shoes each year taking up space in people’s closets and turns them into water wells or well drilling equipment. To date, Shoeman Water Projects has shipped four water-drilling rigs and has provided drinking water to approximately 200,000 people. In addition, several hospitals and schools in Haiti and Kenya have received water purification systems.
“Saint Louis University and Washington University are inspiring. We appreciate all the hard work these two schools have accomplished and we look forward to making this an annual event,” said Shoeman George Hutchings.
Battle of the Boot