Local charity collects used shoes to help veterans

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — It’s a unique way to give back to those who have given so much.

“I think we kind of owe everything to our veterans; they are the front line,” says Mandy Moore, CEO of Aegin Place of West Michigan.

Moore came up with the idea of ​​collecting kicks for the comrades.

“We didn’t want to walk around asking for funds or asking for money,” Moore says. “We wanted to find a way for people to give us things they no longer wanted or needed.”

But the donations don’t actually go to veterans. Instead, they will be collected for a company called “Got Sneakers”, based in Miami, Florida.

“They recycle and reuse sneakers to keep them out of landfills and minimize the carbon footprint,” says Moore.

The money received will then be donated to Lighthouse for Veterans in Fremont, an organization focused on preventing suicide among veterans.

“I think it’s a really, really cool concept that they can fundraise while using the things that are given to them,” says Natasha Heykoop, Founder and President of Lighthouse for Veterans. “To help people too, it’s a win-win.”

Heykoop says funds raised by FOX 17 will help give veterans tools to fight PTSD and buy land for veterans’ retreats.

“I would like to refill it at least a few times if possible; there are a lot of generous people in the area,” says Brennon Halmond of Orchard Market.

You can also find other donation boxes throughout the Lakeshore region in Fremont, Muskegon and Holland.

“The good we do in the community can really save a life,” Heykoop says, “so we’re very, very grateful and very, very blessed.”

The organization only accepts donations of tennis shoes, sneakers, or any type of athletic footwear. Boots and flip flops are not accepted as they cannot be recycled.

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