On February 12th, 2015, we hosted our second annual shoe giveaway with Union Gospel Mission, while our Toronto warehouse team made their first visit to the Red Door Shelter to donate a combined total of 300 pairs of new shoes and socks (a 140% increase in the number of shoes provided compared to last year). Both of these groups are committed to ending homelessness and poverty, one life or family at a time.

For the UGM event, a group of 8 SHOEme team members were on-site bright and early to set up tables full of shoes arranged by size. Small groups of individuals entered every few minutes, which provided the SHOEme team with the opportunity to introduce themselves and help each individual find the best fit. Once they had their chosen pair of shoes in hand, recipients were asked to give a pair of their old shoes in exchange for the brand new pair.

In addition to the shoe exchange, our Vancouver team was given a tour of the downtown east side (DTES) neighborhood. This tour highlighted some of the incredible cooperatives that are currently in place to help create new opportunities for residents of the DTES:

  • The Window Art Shop: The Window is a social enterprise art and craft showcase in Vancouver's DTES that is created, owned and operated by PHS Community Services Society. This is a great place to find artwork, greeting cards, ceramic mugs, and local honey made by residents in the DTES, who receive a 65% sales commission from their work. Learn more at http://thewindowartshop.com/.
  • East Van Roasters: East Van Roasters (319 Carrall Street in the Rainier Hotel) is the newest social enterprise to come out of the PHS Community Services Society. Designed to provide training and employment to the women residents of the Rainier Hotel, East Van Roasters creates organic ‘bean-to-bar’ chocolate and coffee roasted and prepared on site. Delicious organic drinking chocolate and coffees, hand rolled truffles, single-origin chocolate bars and select pastries are offered Tuesday-Saturday, 10am til 5pm. Learn more at http://eastvanroasters.com/.

See more from the event on Breakfast Television:

About UGM: Union Gospel Mission is determined to transform communities by overcoming poverty, homelessness, and addiction - one life at a time. Learn more at http://ugm.ca/.

About Red Door Shelter: For over 30 years, the Red Door Family Shelter has continued to provide hope and help for the thousands of families that have come through its red doors. Their mission is to end family homelessness, one family at a time. Learn more at http://reddoorshelter.ca/.