Having a dad who’s a podiatrist, Macey Warren knows the importance of wearing good shoes.
But she also knows how expensive they can be.
Just one pair of new tennis shoes can cost upwards of $50. For a family with several children, buying shoes can become a financial burden.
That’s why the Warrens started Shoes for Sharing back in 2001.
Originally, Walt Warren, owner of The Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center and The Fitted Foot in Seymour, spearheaded the project with support from the Indiana Podiatric Medical Association. It was a challenge to foot doctors around the state to collect and distribute free shoes and socks to people in need.
Macey, a senior at Seymour High School, and her older sister, Payton, grew up helping their dad.
In 2013, Payton took over, and Shoes for Sharing became the responsibility of the Seymour High School National Honor Society.
This year, Macey, also a member of the academic organization, stepped up to oversee the project.
“It’s important to me because I have grown up seeing what an impact it makes on people’s lives,” she said. “A tiny act of kindness, such as giving someone a pair of shoes or socks, can make a big difference to those in need in Jackson County.”
Besides getting good grades, National Honor Society also promotes community involvement and giving back to others.
“One of the four pillars in National Honor Society is service,” Macey said.
The club’s role in the project is to collect the shoes from collection sites throughout Seymour, including 15 local churches, the high school and The Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Center, sort them and help distribute them to people in the community during a free giveaway event.
That event was conducted Saturday morning in the Seymour High School commons area located between the school’s two gymnasiums.
More than 400 pairs of new and gently used shoes — in all sizes, styles and colors — for men, women and children were sorted on tables to make it easier for people to find what they needed.
Turnout this year, however, was low, Macey said, because of another event that was taking place at the same time and location.
During the past 14 years, Shoes for Sharing has been successful in providing more than 10,000 pairs of free shoes for people who need them. People aren’t limited to just one pair. They can take as many as they need for themselves and their family members.
Children’s shoes usually are the most popular, Macey said.
A pair of shoes may not sound like much, but it can make a much bigger impact than people realize, she said.
“Shoes that fit and keep feet warm and dry are necessary for healthy feet and ultimately health in general,” she said. “Many underprivileged Hoosiers cannot afford shoes.”
Macey said she is always impressed by the generosity shown by the community in how many pairs of shoes are donated each year.
“Our community has always been extremely giving and willing to reach out to those in need,” she said.