Just in time for the start of the new school year, a charitable White Plains tradition provided new shoes for local students.
For the seventh year an Earth Day Shoe Recycling Drive was conducted in the city. This year the city again partnered with Soles4Souls, a non-profit social enterprise whose mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of recycled shoes and clothing around the world.
This year more than 40,000 pairs of shoes have been donated by White Plains residents and businesses for recycling since the effort began.
Soles4Souls arranged for 100 pairs of new shoes to be distributed to children on Aug. 23 at El Centro Hispano, which works to assist, support, and strengthen Hispanic families to help them become self-sufficient and to ease their transition into their new culture while maintaining and enriching their own.
Children who are participating in El Centro Hispano’s summer literacy program received the shoes last week.
El Centro Hispano Founding Executive Director Isabel Villar told the dozens of residents who came to her facility last week that El Centro Hispano was very grateful for the donation of shoes.
White Plains Director of Special Projects Jill Iannetta said, “Every year we do a shoe collection. We partner with the school district. Maybe you’ve seen the boxes in your school.”
The collected shoes are donated to Soles4Souls, which gave the city new shoes to give to residents, she said.
“We knew that El Centro Hispano was a great organization,” Iannetta said. “Enjoy the school year with your new pair of shoes, she told the children.”
Also participating in last week’s event was White Plains Assistant Police Chief Joseph Castelli. Earlier in the day the chief met with representatives of El Centro Hispano. “He said I would like to be there because I want to get to know the Hispanic community,” Villar said. “This is another proof that this is a city that is safe for everybody.”
Castelli, who has been a police officer for almost 29 years, thanked officials from El Centro Hispano for letting him introduce himself to the community.
“As part of the community I just want everybody to understand that as the police department and me as the assistant police chief can assure you that our job is to make everybody safe and that includes everybody in this room,” Castelli said. “Nobody has anything to worry about with the White Plains Police Department. We’re here for you.”
Castelli gave the youths who received shoes shields and deputized them as “junior police officers in the City of White Plains.” The requirements he gave to the youths were listen to their parents. Say hello to the police and keep on reading.
One of the appreciative parents at last week’s event was White Plains resident Stacy Torres.
“I’m super amazed and grateful,” said Torres, whose daughter, Crystine, and her son, Leonardo, received shoes. “They are extremely happy to be getting new shoes. They love shoes.”
Jose Torres, the father of Stacy Torres, started Boy Scout Troop 2005 in White Plains 14 years ago, she noted.