There’s an eclectic mix of footware piling up in Josie Archuleta’s garage.
Sparkled women’s pumps, children’s Broncos boots and flip flops the colors of the rainbow are part of the pile. Archuleta estimates the collection currently numbers around 500 pairs and by November, she hopes to have collected 7,500 pairs of shoes as part of an outreach/fund-raiser for Impact Ministries, a non-profit organization based in Gypsum.
Once collected, the shoes will be shipped out to 26 third-world countries around the globe. An organization called Funds2orgs is the clearinghouse for the effort and will pay 40 cents per pound to Impact Ministries for shoes collected. Archuleta, who describes herself as the “executive director, secretary and janior” for Impact Ministries, figures at 7,500 pairs, the group will raise about $3,000. That money will then pay for kids involved with Impact Ministries to attend a positive lifestyle choices conference planned in Denver in late November.
Impact Ministries is a youth recovery center for youth ages 13-19. The organization’s mission statement declares “Impact Ministries will help the individual to overcome any hurt, hang-up or habit. With a curriculum based on the ‘Celebrate Recovery’ program, our goal is to allow the student the opportunity to explore the core issues that are causing challenges in their life and to discover how to make wise choices that will effect their lives in a positive manner.”
Archuleta said Impact Ministries are a non-profit organization with a passion to help the youth of today become positive, responsible, adults in the community.
“Our goal is to reach every young person who desires to end the cycle of addiction and to overcome issues that cause hopelessness,” she said.
In addition to attending the Denver conference, Archuleta said money from the fundraiser will pay for journals so Impact Ministries kids can chronicle their respective journeys.
While the shoe drive is aimed at helping the Impact Ministries kids on their mission, it has also sparked the spirit of other groups. Archuleta said Centro Cristiano Vida Nueva in Edwards and Vida Nueva Christian Center in Gypsum are helping with the fundraiser. The churches’ youth groups are assisting with collections and with preparing the shoes for shipment. The donated footware have to be paired — either tied together or rubber-banded together — and gathered in large trashbags for collection. Additionally, First Lutheran Church in Gypsum and Gracious Savior Lutheran Church in Edwards are drop off points for shoe donations.
And that’s just in this valley.
Archuleta said volunteers in Denver, Salida, Alamosa and all over the Western Slope are collecting shoes for the drive.
“It’s going on from one end of Colorado to the other,” she said. “It’s been an amazing thing to do.”
You have to wonder
With no parameters set for donations other than shoes should be “gently used,” the drive has already collected some interesting footware.
Archuleta noted lots of high heels have been donated to the cause, and she isn’t sure what people in third-world countries will make of these fancy shoes. Her favorite donation to date is a pair of children’s clogs that look like they came straight from Holland.
“They are really cute,” she said with a laugh.
For more information or to arrange for a donation, Archuleta can be reached at 970-401-1053.