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Shoe collection for Refuge for Women OV

A DRIVE FOR SHOES — An effort to collect gently used men’s, women’s and children’s shoes of all kinds will help raise funds for the nonprofit Refuge for Women Ohio Valley. The photo was staged by April Stellfox, who works part time as the administrative assistant to Theresa Golden, city director for Refuge for Women Ohio Valley. The shoe drive officially began Monday and continues through July 18 with drop-offs at several area locations. The effort is part of a fundraiser through Funds2Orgs. -- Contributed

Refuge for Women Ohio Valley has a footwear fundraiser under way, collecting gently used shoes, and the community is invited to participate.

The shoe drive officially Monday and continues through July 18, according to April Stellfox, who works part time as the administrative assistant to Theresa Golden, city director for Refuge for Women Ohio Valley.

The drop-off locations for shoe donations include Crossroads Christian Church, 110 Springdale Ave., Wintersville; Wintersville Community Chapel, 27 Ward Drive, Wintersville; Hauser Furniture, 3905 Sunset Blvd., Steubenville; and Paris Presbyterian Church, 127 Steubenville Pike, Burgettstown.

Stellfox explained that she was looking for fundraisers and gift basket ideas on Pinterest when she came across an organization called Funds2Orgs.

“I did not remember anyone doing a fundraiser where you collected gently used shoes before, so I thought this would be something different,” she noted. The collection includes children and adult male and female shoes, including flip-flops, slippers, even steel-toed boots.

“I thought about all the shoes we throw away and how this could prevent shoes at landfills — let’s help our environment,” Stellfox noted of her thought process in learning about the fundraising idea. “I clicked on the ad and started to read about the organization. To have a successful drive you have to have 100 bags filled with 25 pairs of shoes. With the four of us at my house, we should be able to come up with one bag,” she reasoned.

The shoes should be gently worn, used or new — no broken parts, no missing parts, no excessive wear, clean and in good condition.

“After Funds2Orgs collects the shoes they ‘ship them off to many micro-enterprise partners around the world, where they are sold to small business owners for a low price,'” Stellfox said in referencing its website information. “They also state in the ‘Why Shoes Flier’ that ‘Shoes are sold by these small business owners in communities in need of proper footwear, at an inexpensive price. Additionally, micro entrepreneurs create a path out of poverty for themselves in countries where there are limited, if any, job opportunities that pay a living wage.'”

Funds2Orgs issues a check for the donated shoes.

“Refuge for Women is a nonprofit, faith-based organization providing specialized long-term care for women who have escaped human trafficking or sexual exploitation. With multiple locations across the United States, Refuge for Women offers up to 12 months of safe housing, at no charge to the resident, with around-the-clock care as residents progress through evidence-based, trauma-informed programming,” according to its website.

Trained staff help the women navigate the three-phase program of healing, job preparation and employment.

The Jefferson County location is undisclosed for safety precautions and is one of five Refuge for Women safe houses in operation. It can accommodate six women.

During the collection dates, shoes will be picked up weekly with the help of volunteers, staff, board, friends and the Girl Scouts.

For information, contact Stellfox at (740) 317-9718 or april.stellfox@refugeforwomen.org or Sharon Kinemand at (740) 317-0625 or sharon.kinemond@refugeforwomen.org.

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