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Westmoreland Cleanways provides new life for old shoes

| Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier
Taking care of some collected shoes are Rene Mulroy (left) of Shop Demo Depot and Ellen Keefe, Westmoreland Cleanways executive director.

People may outgrown them, get tired of them, or styles may change, but whatever the reason, someone may be grateful for and able to wear those unwanted shoes or boots.

Continuing its collaboration with Shoebox Recycling, Westmoreland Cleanways is now accepting gently used shoes and boots, which will then be donated to Third World countries.

“We've been doing a shoe collection for a little over a year now,” Ellen Keefe, Westmoreland Cleanways executive director, said Friday. “It's a great way to keep all those unwanted or unused shoes out of landfills and into the hands of someone who can really use them.”

Keefe set up a collection site at the Shop Demo Depot in Mt. Pleasant, the site of the former Cook's Lumber. It will now be a permanent location for the collection of shoes.

“We are always looking for more ways to get involved in recycling and we contacted them to offer our site as a location,” Rene Mulroy, Shop Demo Depot administrative assistant, said. “It's just another way that we can get involved in our community and help in yet another way to recycle.”

Accepted shoes can be any sizes, children's or adults, new or gently worn, like athletic shoes with no cleats or spikes, dress shoes, Timberland-type work boots, sandals, heels and flats.

Shoes with holes, mold or mildew or missing parts will not be accepted. Also, ski boots, heavy winter boots, roller skates, bedroom slippers and flip-flops will not be accepted.

The collection works as a fundraiser for Westmoreland Cleanways, which will receive 50 cents for every pound of shoes collected.

“Last year we collected over 2,000 pounds of shoes, which meant that we were able to receive $1,000 for Westmoreland Cleanways, which is great,” Keefe said. “It's such an easy fundraiser for us. They give us the boxes and we fill them. They already have shipping labels, so once they are filled, we just ship them off.”

Keefe said that Pitt-Greensburg and Westmoreland County Community College have been sites for collection and have been successful. She hopes to see the same kind of interest and support at the Mt. Pleasant Shop Demo Depot.

“This is good for the environment as it keeps the shoes out of landfills and it's good to help someone who can use these shoes,” Keefe said. “The message of the drive is ‘Worn is not worn out,' and we hope that people think of us when they go to dispose of shoes from now on.”

Shoes can be dropped off any time during regular hours at Shop Demo Depot, 23 W. Main St. The store is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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