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Vincentian student project recycles 1.5 million shoes

NU sandals-locationsLevesque Institute recycles 1.5 million shoes and helps eliminate a debilitating foot disease.

As a university founded by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, known as the “Great Apostle of Charity,” Niagara University and its students take public service to perhaps a higher level than most colleges and universities.

One of the stand-outs, known as “Sandal Falls,” (and particularly active during the summer) is extraordinary in its own right because it saves hundreds of thousands of lives. Since 2010, this campus organization has collected 1.5 million shoes that have been distributed by Niagara faculty and staff on mission trips to Malawi, Guatemala and El Salvador. Additional distributions have gone to India, Kenya, Malaysia and parts of the U.S.

The name “Sandal Falls” comes from the origination of the sandals – they are donated by tourists at the Cave of the Winds attraction in Niagara Falls, N.Y.. When tourists are done using them, they have the option to keep the sandals as souvenirs or to discard them. The unwanted sandals are cleaned and repackaged before making their way to the needy.

By providing these communities with shoes, the “Sandal Falls” project helps to eliminate podoconosis, a debilitating disease that causes painful swelling of the feet and legs that can lead to amputation and, possibly, death. Through such a simple solution, disease can be prevented, making it possible for people to work and help their families survive.

If you would like to partner with us and/or receive sandals for an outreach project, please fill out this form.

See more on the story and other NU student projects at My Social Good News blog.

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