There’s a very special group of volunteers, many of them senior citizens, that have established and administer a very special charitable organization called Shoe Closets, Inc., here in Indianapolis. This grassroots charity helps young kids in need through hands-on partnerships with Indianapolis and surrounding community schools. The organization’s sole mission is to help and quietly serve underprivileged children in our community.
The concept is simple. At each participating school, there is a designated enclosed area similar to a closet or cupboard where an inventory of new shoes in multiple styles and sizes are stored. When teachers, administrators (or in some cases when there’s a personal request), identify a student that needs suitable shoes, they can review the selection available from the inventory kept at each school and pick their own pair.
This is done quietly and in a dignified manner with respect for the child and their family. This organization would not be possible if it wasn’t for the unheralded caring teachers and administrators that participate, support and make this program possible.
Shoe Closets, Inc. has been an established 501c3 registered charitable organization since 2014. Unfortunately, the need to help and support children served by this group continues to be in high demand. This organization depends totally on private and corporate donations to fund their operation and provide these community support services.
This grass roots group is operated by all unpaid volunteers and to-date, have established and serve a working “Shoe Closets” partnership with 31 public schools in our surrounding communities.
Shoe Closets, Inc. is administered by a seven member volunteer board of directors and over 45 volunteer support staff. Executive Director of Shoe Closets, Inc. and Founder is Barbara Olmstead. All 100 percent of the donated funds are used to purchase shoe inventories and are distributed to children that are in need of new shoes that properly fit their feet.
It takes financial support of approximately $3,000 per school to establish a Shoe Closets program and $2,000 per year to continue to support, supply and maintain the program in each school. Shoe Closets Inc. to date has served over 10,000 children in our community.
Ms. Olmstead stated, “Who knew this simple idea of putting Shoe Closets in our neighborhood schools was in such continuing demand? From the beginning, our group’s motivation was to serve God as good stewards by serving others in need – simply providing kids access to a decent pair of shoes that fit. Who knew the need would be so great? Our collective goal is to support even more kids in need, while letting them know their community cares about them!”
Additional information about Shoe Closets, Inc. and ways to support the organization’s mission can be located at ShoeClosets.org. Contact John Miles, Media Relations, at (317) 319-3309 for any media inquiries or interview requests.