Making a Difference One Shoe at a Time

Collecting gently used tennis shoes is a passion for Mike Barringer.

As the founder of The Shoe Bank, Barringer has been collecting the shoes for two decades.

"The Shoe Bank, provides for about 25,000 annually," said Barringer, who started with just a few cardboard boxes and that number has grown to hundreds over the years.

"When I kept getting calls from other agencies, they needed shoes, so I decided to build more boxes and put them down at the Racquet Club and Cooper Fitness," said Barringer.

In a way he's been recycling what others toss away.

Over 150 local school districts and many businesses have become drop off points for the program.
"We have a lot of customers that actually come in with sack loads, they've been doing it for years and years and years and they'll clean out the closet, and here they come in with the shoes," said Gates McKnight with Run-On.

The Shoe Bank even gets shoes from overseas.
"I have a soldier in Iraq who found my Web site and said she would like to collect shoes and she sent about 50 pairs back," said Barringer.

Barringer delivers the shoes almost as fast as he collects them.
"I think it's vital, the one thing we are always in need of is children's and men's shoes and women's shoes," said Rev. Jay Cole with Crossroads Community Services

The Shoe Bank is making a difference, one step at a time.
"Everybody likes tennis shoes, the children the men and most of the women and they all want to have a set of shoes," said Cole.
You can drop off tennis and running shoes for the shoe-bank this weekend at the Cowtown Marathon, just look for the EPA booth.

The Fish City Grill restaurant in Garland is also holding a fundraiser for The Shoe Bank on May 5.

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