Some smelly, old gym shoes are the currency one South Side High School coach hopes can help her teams.
South Side’s Assistant Track and Field Coach, Tiffany Fields, said she recently started a fundraiser for her teams that collects old sneakers and gym shoes to donate to a website that pays the school back for recycling the used footwear.
While searching the Internet for money-raising ideas over the school’s Christmas break, Fields said she stumbled upon a website that pays individuals and groups for used sneakers.
“I was just looking for fundraising options,” Fields said, “and I happened upon this, and thought it’d be a good idea.”
Fields said she began collecting shoes not long after students and administrators returned from break, and it’s been going on since then. So far, she said, students, teachers, and other staff have donated dozens of pairs of old shoes.
The school also has set up bins at its home boys and girls’ basketball games for fans to donate to the cause.
The program doesn’t cost the school anything, she noted, as the website provides the packaging to ship the shoes and pays for them to be shipped back to the company. In a few weeks, the school receives a check for the shoes they’ve sent.
Money raised from the shoe drive will go to help pay for several needs for her teams, Fields said. That includes equipment and uniforms for the boys and girls’ track and field teams, hurdles and field equipment like discuses, shot puts, and javelins.
The financial help is especially needed for some students, Fields said.
“There’s always a cost [to playing sports], and some students just can’t afford it,” Fields said. “This is something that can help those kids.”
The used-shoe website, located at www.gotsneakers.com, says its goal is to “make it socially and financially rewarding to contribute to a circular economy with our FREE sneaker recycling programs for individual sellers and organizations of all types and sizes.”
The site continues, “When you join our sneaker recycling community, you will be making a global impact AND you will earn money for every pair of sneakers you contribute.”
Fields added that the effort not only helps raise much-needed cash, but helps folks get rid of old, useless shoes, and helps the environment, too, by recycling materials that would only clog up landfills.
“It helps people clean out their closets,” said Fields, the 40-year-old assistant track coach and student services secretary, “and they don’t have to buy anything. And it’s environmentally friendly.”
Fields noted that any individuals or companies interested in helping raise money for her teams – whether they’re donating used shoes or any other offering – are welcome to stop by the South Side main office at 3601 S. Calhoun St. during school hours to make donations.