Shoe donations sought in Peoria area, Bloomington drives

Photo Caption: There are multiple drop-off sites for the WaterStep drive in the Peoria area and the OSF St. Joseph Medical Center collection in Blooomington-Normal.

MORTON — The WATCH program of St. Ann Parish in Peoria, in partnership with The Iona Group and Float, is looking for a few good shoes — about 30,000 pairs to be exact.

Meanwhile, in Bloomington, OSF St. Joseph Medical Center and Dr. Todd Snoeyink, an OSF Medical Group podiatrist, are sponsoring a shoe drive to benefit Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington from Friday, Aug. 7, to Sunday, Aug. 16. (See details below.)

The goal of the August shoe drive in the Peoria area is to donate the new and used footwear to WaterStep. The non-profit organization sells them to an exporter and uses the proceeds to fund water treatment systems in Third World countries.

Organizers note that the need is great. They cited a 2014 study by the World Health Organization and UNICEF that said nearly 750 million people around the world lack access to safe drinking water.

Usable shoes will be sold by local merchants in these poor regions and help them provide for their families. Those who will wear the shoes will be protected from scrapes, scratches, parasites and mites.

“The Peoria-area community has been absolutely terrific for the past three years that we have been running this shoe collection drive. Once again, I ask individuals and organizations to help,” said Father Terry Cassidy, pastor of St. Ann Parish. “We need your help collecting shoes and watching potential landfill turn into something very positive for those who are most in need.”

Since 2012, nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes have been donated to WaterStep. This year, St. Ann’s WATCH (We Are The Church), The Iona Group and Float have set an aggressive goal of 30,000 pairs of shoes. Everything from flip-flops, sandals, tennis shoes and gardening shoes to dress shoes will be accepted.

Drop-off sites include St. Mary of Lourdes Church and St. Mary Church, Metamora; Blessed Sacrament Church, Morton; and St. Mary’s Cathedral, Holy Family Church, Sacred Heart Church, St. Ann Church, St. Bernard Church, St. Joseph Church, St. Jude Church and St. Vincent de Paul Church, all in Peoria. For a complete list, visit

To host a drop-off location, to volunteer, or to get more information, call Denise Henderson at (309) 263-4662.


New and gently used men’s, women’s and children’s shoes are welcome at the OSF Shoe Drive, now in its 13th year. Those that are wearable will go to the Mission Mart Thrift Store at Home Sweet Home Ministries for retail sale, and those that aren’t will be recycled.

Over the last 12 years, OSF has collected more than 19,000 pairs of shoes.
In addition to five drop-off locations within OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, where donations may be made during regular business hours, there are three outdoor drop-off locations this year:

— OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, 2200 E. Washington St., in the parking lot along Veteran’s Parkway;
— OSF Medical Group, 1701 E. College Ave., in the parking lot off of Jumer Drive; and
— OSF Center for Health, 2200 Fort Jesse Road, Normal, in the parking lot off of Fort Jesse Road.

Large, metal HSHRenew bins will be placed at each outdoor location and donations may be made 24 hours a day.

Donors are asked to place a rubber band or zip tie around each pair of shoes before dropping them into the collection bins to help with the sorting process. Please do not drop shoe boxes into the bins.

Those who would like a receipt for their donation should go directly to Home Sweet Home Ministries, 303 E. Oakland Ave.

Home Sweet Home Ministries is a homeless shelter that is open 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. For more information, go to

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