We are extremely grateful for those who help collect shoes and also raise funds to send them to Africa. Shoes and funds are two key needs that we have, and we’re often asked for creative ideas to help engage a group. Here are some easy and fun ways to get everyone excited and involved!
Raising Funds for Shipments
Who doesn’t love fresh baked goods? Hosting a bake sale is a fun and effective way to help raise funds to ship shoes to Africa! You can do this with a shoe drive, or as a stand alone project.
Draw the shape of Africa on a large piece of paper and hang it on the wall. Print lots of copies of THESE paper shoes and sell them during lunch hours or sporting events. (Charge $.50 or whatever you think is appropriate.) Students, parents, and staff can buy the shoes, write their name on them, and then tape them to the map of Africa. (Have markers and crayons available.) Your group will enjoy seeing the map fill up with shoes!
Communicate a fundraising goal to each classroom ahead of time. On the designated day and hour, a designated student or teacher will go into each classroom for 1 minute with a shoe or rain boot and collect as much money as they can. Students can throw their change and bills into the shoe as it’s passed around for approximately 1 minute.
Cover Those Feet!
For each pair of shoes that is donated, hang up a Printed Pair of Shoes in a visible place. For each dollar that is collected, cover a shoeprint with a photocopied picture of a Dollar Bill. While helping to cover people’s feet in
Africa, you can also have a visible goal to cover the cost of shipping.
Other Fun Ideas
- Host a dance or auction event and donate ticket proceeds or admission fees to SFJ.
- Designate someone to walk around with a shoe or rain boot at sporting events or rallies. People can donate their change and bills when it comes by.
- Host a bake sale, lemonade stand, or car wash and donate the proceeds to SFJ.
- Ask your principal if those who donate $1 can go barefoot for the day (or class). If your school requires a uniform, a casual day can be earned by making a donation!
Shoe Collection Ideas
Choose a date for your barefoot event, and advertise it well in advance. Prepare students or your entire church family to show up for this special service or event without shoes. Add a red carpet to your main entrance to add some excitement, along with a photographer to capture guests as they arrive. Participants are encouraged to bring along their shoe donations on this date. This is a fun way to involve all ages, as kids, teens, and adults will realize how it feels to live for a few hours without shoes. A Barefoot Event can also be advertised along with your shoe drive, as the kick-off or closing date of your drive. (Be sure to share your pictures and events with us, so we can add you to our SFJ Photo Gallery!)
We are amazed at the generosity of kids! Instead of asking for gifts, the birthday child can ask that everyone brings a pair of shoes to donate. You could even bring your friends to the SFJ warehouse for a SOS event on your birthday!
Sunday School/Children’s Activity
Gather the group around a large paper cross that has been taped to the floor. Place pans of colored poster paint around it, using a different color in each pan. Then talk about what it means to be a part of the cross; to be willing to walk as a servant in the same way Christ did. One at a time, each child can choose a color to dip their feet in, and walk across the paper, leaving their footprints on the cross. This can be done as an indication of their decision to follow the way of the cross. Next, you can do a foot washing ceremony, where kids wash the paint off each other’s feet. (Provide pans, towels, soap, etc.)
This exercise can be followed up with good discussion. As you view the cross together, you can talk about the significance of the different kinds of footprints on it, how they are all unique, the blending of colors in the middle section, the plain cross that is now bright with colors, etc. You can close by allowing kids to cut the cross into small poster size pieces and take them home to hang on their walls as a reminder of their commitment to walk with Christ.
Organize a Christmas contest with neighbors, inviting them to decorate their homes. Pick a voting date and time when participating families can take a stroll to vote on their favorite house. To cast your vote, drop a pair of shoes in front of the best decorated home! The house with the most donated shoes wins!
Games are a great way to get people actively involved in your shoe drive. When you ask individuals to donate shoes, invite them to take part in barefoot games like these:
- Foot signing: Kids take off their shoes and socks, and receive a felt tip pen (washable). On signal, the group has 1 minute to see how many signatures they can get on the bottom of their feet.
- Feet by the foot: Teams line up with their feet in a single file line, heel to toe, to see which team has the most footage. Longest line wins.
- Lemon Pass: Teams remove shoes and try to pass a lemon down the line without using their hands (only feet). The lemon cannot drop or the team has to start over.
- Foot drawing: Each team chooses an object in the room. Using only feet for patterns, they trace parts of the feet on paper to create that object. Other teams must then guess what that object is.
Cards for Africa: Children of all ages will have fun creating hand-made cards and notes to send to Africa. This is a great way for children to get involved, as they use their creativity to share encouraging messages. Each card will be given along with a pair of shoes, and will be greatly appreciated.
Decorate Canvas Shoes: Kids love this fun project! You can purchase white canvas shoes for your group, or you can ask each child to bring in a pair of white canvas shoes. You can show our SFJ Promo Video to the group, so they understand who will be getting their shoes. Then encourage them to be creative and have fun! Use fabric paint or markers to draw pictures, share a scripture or write a special message on the shoes. These gifts of love will be a treasure to each child who receives them!
VBS: Vacation Bible School
We are grateful for those who choose SFJ as their mission project! You can collect shoes and funds with the students and we’ll do our best to provide an SFJ representative to share with your group if you desire.
Shoe Lace Drive
Sometimes people donate shoes that need new shoe laces. Invite participants to purchase a fun pair of shoe laces to go with each pair of shoes they donate!
Other Fun Ideas
- Host a special concert, dance, or event and use shoes as the admission, or reduce the ticket cost with a shoe donation. (This also works well for sporting events.)
- Reach out to community groups in your district and invite them to be involved in your school shoe drive. Give them posters and empty their shoes into your large collection at school.
- As people donate shoes, ask them to consider volunteering at SFJ. Let us know if you’d like to pack your own shoes by volunteering for a 2 hour SOS event in our Milwaukee warehouse!
- Write notes or color pictures to tuck inside the shoes you donate.
- Read the story Four Feet, Two Sandals, by Karen Lynn Williams, to your group. This inspiring story will inspire others to donate too!
Where to Collect Shoes
Preschool, day care, public and private schools, we have made a way for them all to get involved! (Posters and boxes made for public schools are available for you.) Getting the principal and student council on board is helpful. Designate a few students and teachers to advertise the shoe drive & fundraising information over the PA system or in the classroom.
SFJ has collected shoes from businesses across the U.S. Ask the businesses in your area if they’d like to get involved in your shoe drive. They can put up a poster and a collection box in their office, and get their staff involved too. Offer to pick up the shoes once their box is full and add it to your collection!
There are so many churches that support SFJ and we are grateful for every one of them! Ask your pastor or youthleader to help you organize a shoe drive at your church. We’ll provide you with a collection box, posters, and we’ll do our best to provide a representative to speak about SFJ if you desire. This is a great way to show your congregation how God is working in the lives of his people across the globe!
Ask for a free space at the market to collect shoes for a month. Each week, pass out flyers to remind people to bring shoes the following week. Community supporters may even provide you with coupons to their stores that you can give to those who donate.
Go to the rummage sales in your neighborhood and either purchase the shoes they are selling or ask the seller to consider donating their left over shoes to Africa.
Drop a bag and flyer at each house in your neighborhood or community. Include directions on filling the bag with shoes and ask them to leave the bag on their doorstep on a designated date and time. Rally volunteers to go around and collect the shoes on that day. It’s a great opportunity to have conversations about your motivation for collecting shoes!
Other Creative Places
- Bible studies
- College dorms
- Clearance racks at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.
- Local running stores or shoe stores
- Summer camps
- Rotary Clubs
- Your work place
Two types of Posters and Collection Boxes are available for you!