Fleet Feet Sports and officers at the Baltimore County Police Department's Pikesville precinct succeeded in collecting an estimated 1,000 pounds or more of old shoes.
Although many of the shoes were worn, torn, out-of-style, trashed and unwanted, they'll help the precinct's Explorers group pay for their conference trip this summer to Fort Collins, CO.
Explorers are volunteers who help throughout the community and learn law enforcement skills. Some of them go on to be police officers, or work with an EMS unit.
For this charity effort, the shoes will be weighed, and Explorers will get a certain amount of money per pound, said Officer Keith Ketterman, mentor for the Pikesville program.
Some of the shoes will be ground up into fertilizer, while others will be fixed up and sent to the needy, Ketterman said.
But even after this collection, the group of ambitious 14-21-year-olds who have worked to raise funds all year, still needs $2,000 to make the trip a reality, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime.
"This is the first year we've ever had to ask families to donate toward this conference," she said. She attributes the difficulty in raising money to the suffering economy.
The community can still help the Explorers pay for their trip to The National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference by:
- Donating shoes at either Fleet Feet Sports, 1809 Reisterstown Road, or the Pikesville precinct at 215 Milford Mill Road. Donations made at Fleet Feet should be marked "Explorers."
- Donating money. To donate to Friends of Police Explorers, a 501C3 organization, call Ketterman at 410-887-6775. Donations are tax deductible.
Jeremy Levin of Fleet Feet said the store is happy to support the Explorers. The store is always collecting used shoes, but usually the proceeds go to cancer centers.
But, for this past month owners Bobby and Karen Levin decided to help out the Explorers, giving them the proceeds from the shoes collected.
"Anything the Explorers do is a good cause. The kids here have a real interest in helping out in the community, and maybe in doing police work or EMS work," later on, he said.
The Pikesville Police & Community Relations Council has made a donation toward the Explorers' trip, Warehime said.