What do you do with your children’s shoes when they’ve grown out of them?
A charity in Edenbridge has been helping people in the UK and all around the world by giving good trainers, shoes and wellies a new home.
Now the team have been busy sending shoes to refugees from Afghanistan arriving in the UK without any of their belongings.
After CJ Bowry’s son Sal outgrew his first few pairs of shoes, she took to Facebook to find them new owners.
Eight years later, she and a team of volunteers send shoes all around the world.
Sal’s Shoes has shifted millions of pairs in that time without ever having to advertise.
CJ says: “I think social media with all its flaws when harnessed for good can be astounding.
“When I first started the charity I contacted three places to host a Sal’s shoes collection but we have been really fortunate as well to never have to ask anyone to to send us their shoes word has just spread through social media.”
The vast majority of the shoes are collected across the UK and sent to their warehouse.
So far they have distributed over 2.5 million pairs across 50 countries around the world but increasingly here in the UK.
With rising levels of child poverty, more than 25,00 pairs have been sent around the UK since the beginning of the first lockdown, and more than 4,000 are for children at the start of the school term.
Volunteer Ashlee Williams comes in either through her company’s volunteer days or in her own time.
Ashlee said: “For me through lockdown it’s an escape as well. Somewhere safe to come and do the volunteering with a great group of people. It’s been great for mental health as well as being able to give something back to others who need it.”
At the moment, the charity has been inundated with requests from community organisations working nationwide with Afghan families as they arrive.
CJ said: “I just feel really fortunate to have the support we have and I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what to do with their children’s outgrown shoes. We have just been so fortunate to have received this support.”