This spring, Phi Theta Kappa Alumni of Washburn, PTKAW, will be continuing its tradition of collecting donated shoes that will be distributed to those in need in Topeka. The shoe drive, which runs until June 10, will have boxes set up in many different designated locations on campus where students and staff can drop off gently used pairs of shoes that will be handed off to PTKAW’s partner, Doorstep, Inc. All types and sizes of shoes and boots are welcome.
Doorstep, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that includes 55 churches in the local area that focus on collecting items such as clothing, food and shoes.
Thirty students at Washburn contribute to PTKAW and help collect the shoes each semester. A group effort is required to put flyers up around campus and transport shoes when June 10 arrives. Eight designated donation sites are set up around campus such as in Mabee Library, Henderson Learning Center and Morgan Hall.
In the past, the shoe drive has collected over 1,400 pairs of shoes for those in need.
Joanne Georgiana, vice president for digital media on campus and junior social work major, plays a large role in the planning and execution of the shoe drive. She joined PTKAW last year and has helped with three previous shoe drives by spreading the word about the event not only around campus, but also in her hometown where many individuals have sent shoes to the needy.
“My favorite part of this project is seeing everybody come together. I think it’s amazing to see how many shoes we can actually collect,” Georgiana said. “For me personally, I also bring in shoes from my hometown and I almost like to do a little competition to see how many shoes we can bring in compared to last semester.”
Paul Flumen, who completed his masters in accounting in 2017 and is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree at Washburn, founded PTKAW in 2016. Flumen is currently the secretary in the organization. He helps run the shoe drive each semester but mostly lets the students take the reigns. He was proud to announce the successes of the shoe drive in the past and his positive feelings for the future of the event.
“Every year we’ve managed to collect over 150 pairs of shoes. Last spring we even had 380 pairs of shoes donated just from campus,” Flumen said. “It’s unfathomable the enthusiasm this campus demonstrates when this event comes around. This is a godsend to many students who are wanting to get rid of shoes for the needy.”
Georgiana also said that it’s not too late to donate your shoes if you haven’t done so already.
“Definitely go through your shoes and if you haven’t worn them for a while or if you just have an abundance of shoes consider donating them because there are people in our community who can’t afford a new pair of shoes. They definitely go to a great place.”
The shoe drive is a great way to get the community and Washburn University’s student body to come together for something that will benefit hundreds of people in the Topeka area. If you are interested or have questions about the shoe drive, Paul Flumen and the other members of PTKAW can be contacted at [email protected]