ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Maggie DiGrande, left, and Gabby LaRiviere put the first of what they hope will be 300 pair of shoes in one of the collection boxes they will have in Swampscott and Marblehead over the next two months.
By GAYLA CAWLEY
SWAMPSCOTT — Two Swampscott High School seniors are collecting new and used shoes as part of a recycling effort to help the community and environment become more sustainable.
Maggie DiGrande and Gabby LaRiviere, both 17, are collecting the shoes as part of a project for their “Green Scholars” class. The pair plans to start collecting today, and intends to donate all of the shoes to Soles 4 Souls, which says it is a not-for-profit global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing.
DiGrande said collection boxes will be set up in four locations: the YMCA in Marblehead, the Jewish Community Center in Marblehead, Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School, until the end of February. Their goal is to collect 300 pairs of shoes.
Depending on the condition of the shoes, they’ll either be distributed to more people, if wearable, or recycled into new shoes. The friends say they’re collecting adult and children’s shoes, but not high heels.
“A lot of people don’t figure you can recycle a lot of shoes,” DiGrande said.
DiGrande said the idea for the project came after they taught middle school students about what could be recycled and what can’t. LaRiviere did some research, found Soles 4 Souls and thought it would be a good idea to pair with them and start a drive of their own.
“It helps because the shoes go to impoverished people,” LaRiviere said. “And everyone can get involved.”
The project allows people to put their shoes to use, DiGrande added.
“Me, personally, I want to see how the community comes together,” she said.
Gayla Cawley can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.