A shoe drive that was announced by White Plains Mayor Tom Roach last week as part of the city’s Earth Week observance ended today (Tuesday) when a truck pulled up to Ebersole Ice Rink and was loaded with 4,004 pairs of footwear which will now be distributed to the needy across the country and around the world.
“I’m glad we got so many,” said 17-year-old White Plains High School Junior Brian LaPlaca, a member of White Plains Boy Scout Troop 73, who organized the drive for his Eagle Scout project. “It’s a lot of shoes.”
Brian LaPlaca, surrounded by pallets of shoes donated to the Soles 4 Souls charity organization as part of White Plains’ Earth Week activities.
LaPlaca, who has been a volunteer at City Hall for two years, began working on the project in March.
“I knew the city wanted something new for Earth Week that included recycling, and we came up with this,” he said. “In normal clothes drives you get a lot of clothing for homeless people, but no shoes.”
The city teamed up with Soles 4 Souls, which redistributes 19 million pairs of shoes for the drive.
LaPlaca and Jill Ianetti, the city’s special events coordinator, contacted local schools, businesses, corporations, churches, synagogues and other community entities and arranged for collection boxes to be placed at some 40 locations.
Ianetti said many of the places they contacted held their own mini drives to help the cause. She said she was surprised at how many brand new shoes were donated.