New shoe bank focuses on locals in need

(From left) Fraser Campbell, chairperson on the Kelowna Community Food Bank
(From left) Fraser Campbell, chairperson on the Kelowna Community Food Bank's board of directors, Donna Mayer, shoe bank coordinator, Jim Belshaw, chair of Soles4Souls Canada and Steve Goddard, member of Soles4Souls Canada's board of director, are part of the team that has made the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Shoe Bank possible.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

The Kelowna Community Food Bank has done an admirable job filling hungry bellies since the early 1980s.

Now its clients will be able to save a few extra dollars on footwear as well.

The Kelowna Sunrise Rotary Shoe Bank is a partnership between the Kelowna Community Food Bank and Soles4Souls Canada.

Jim Belshaw, chair of Soles4Souls Canada and owner of Roy's Shoes in downtown Kelowna, said the shoe bank fits nicely with Soles4Souls' vision of helping locals in need.

"This is something I've been trying to do for four years," said Belshaw.

"I thought I'd arrange it out of the warehouse we're working out of, but the warehouse isn't big enough. This is even more perfect."

The shoe bank, located at 1264 Ellis St., will be open Mondays and Thursdays starting Aug. 7 from approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; although, those times could vary slightly.

Belshaw said he regularly gets phone calls from local agencies that know someone in need of a specific pair of shoes.

Previously, Belshaw would travel to the warehouse and dig through boxes of shoes to find the desired pair. Now, even on days the shoe bank is closed, Belshaw will have an easier time finding the footwear in the organized shoe bank.

"It's going to make things a lot easier for me and the volunteers—and the agencies to help out their clients," said Belshaw.

David Purdon, associate executive director of the Kelowna Community Food Bank, said the new resource will be very beneficial to users of the food bank.

"It's pretty obvious that low-income households struggle with everything from food, the cost of living, clothing—all of those things," said Purdon.

"We're just really delighted to have the shoe bank and the food bank together."

Belshaw figures work boots will be one of the most popular items at the shoe bank; therefore, those who have extra work boots lying around are encouraged to bring them to Roy's Shoes, the shoe bank or Tom Harris Mobility at 2447 Hwy 97 N.

Members of Kelowna Sunrise Rotary, Telus Community Ambassadors and various residents have already signed up to volunteer at the new shoe bank, but Belshaw said there is still a need for more volunteers.

"We would like to be open more than just two, four-hour shifts (per week)."

Those interested in volunteering can call Belshaw at Roy's Shoes, 250-763-5696.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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