By Angela Morefield
Perry Township resident Scott Splichal is making a difference in the world, one shoe at a time.
Splichal is vice president of Changing Footprints, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization which collects donations of gently used or new footwear to give to those in need.
In the spring of 2004, after watching a news story about people with no shoes in Afghanistan, Maureen Leisure of Rushville, IN, founder and CEO of Changing Footprints, knew she had to find a way to help not just those living in Afghanistan, but also residents in her own community. “I wondered why any child in the world would be shoeless when many people have a closet full of shoes they aren’t wearing,” Leisure said. In 2005 Changing Footprints was born.
Splichal, a recently retired pharmacist of 43 years, got involved with Changing Footprints about six years ago when he was at a weekly Perry Township Kiwanis meeting, and Bob Broughton, board member of Changing Footprints, came as a guest speaker. “It looked really fun to do, so I helped with shoe sorting and collecting shoes on the Southside,” he said. “I met Maureen and joined the board.”
Around the first of August, Splichal opened the Southside sorting facility for Changing Footprints, which is located next to Servants Heart of Indy, off South Emerson Avenue.
Splichal has volunteered at the CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon for 41 years. The 2019 Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis was held Nov. 9, and Changing Footprints received over 350 pairs of shoes donated by runners at their booth. “Not bad for our first time there,” he said. ”Amazing first time. Some of the people who donated came all the way from Montreal and California.
Thanks to Perry Township Schools, My Kiwanis Club and many other organizations that donated and volunteered, Changing Footprints hosted its third annual “Great Giveaway” Nov. 16 at Southport High School. The event brought in 1,775 pairs of shoes donated by the community, 380 coats from the organization KidsCoats, feminine products from the organization I Support the Girls, food from churches and shirts from the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. Donors dropped off 480 hats, gloves and scarves. Long’s Bakery donated doughnuts, Bubba’s 33 brought pizzas and Kim’s Kakery, Bakery & Cafe donated cookies.
“We had lots of volunteer groups helping,” Splichal said. “We did a great job for the school system and gave back to those who needed our help.”
Splichal is currently the treasurer and co-president of Perry Township Kiwanis Club, where he has been a member for the past 20 years. He is also a mentor for the Southport Key Club. He is a Riley Children’s Hospital advocate, having helped raise $25,000.
Splichal, his wife, two sons and now their wives, have also helped cook and serve the less fortunate on both Thanksgiving and Christmas for the past 15 years.
On Nov. 10 at an Indianapolis Colts home game at Lucas Oil Stadium, Splichal was recognized by the Colts and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for his service to the community as an Anthem Angel, a Hoosier public and civil servant who has made community contributions beyond the call of duty. The two organizations have honored everyday heroes for 12 years through the Anthem Angles program. One Anthem Angel is selected before each Indianapolis Colts regular season home game.
“I am a people person,” Splichal said. “I love giving back because I’ve been so fortunate. If you do enough for other people, it comes back to you. And it’s come back to me four times or more.”
For more information on how to help, donate, or starting a shoe drive with Changing Footprints, go to changingfootprints.org.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH SCOTT SPLICHAL
- Who or what inspires you?
My dad; he was a very giving person.
- What is your favorite style of shoe?
Anything with wild designs or colors.
- What is your favorite sport?
- What is your favorite season?
Fall. I love all the colors.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
Travel with my wife.