Shoe Program Archives - Page 2 of 3 - WaterStep

Emma Rider: Quenching Soles

Join us and our team as we support Emma Rider to continue saving lives with safe water. If Emma wins the Jefferson Lead360 Award, she could travel to Thailand, Fiji, Tanzania, Peru, India, Costa Rica, or next year’s Super Bowl as a WaterStep Ambassador. Join us in furthering WaterStep’s mission of saving lives with safe water. Here is what you can do:

1. Commit to voting for Emma at least once a day until May 21st, here. It’s just one click! Set up a reminder on your phone or laptop and start voting today. And by the way, you can vote multiple times a day as log as your internet source changes. So vote throughout the day if you can.

2. Share the link on Twitter and Facebook, or copy and paste this post to an email and send it out to friends to encourage them to join in. Check the pages each day to learn more about Emma and share or retweet our posts.

3. Champion Emma’s cause at your work, school or organization by motivating them to vote every day.

Together, we can support Emma to save lives with safe water all around the world.

Read more about Emma’s story with WaterStep below.


emma rider

Teenager Emma Rider, from southern Delaware, has collected over 80,000 pounds of shoes to support WaterStep. Those 80,000 shoes have supported safe water projects all over the world, thanks to Emma’s dedication.

Emma first heard about WaterStep through her brothers who took mission trips with WaterStep. Emma soon heard about the trips and joined in. When Emma’s brother worked for WaterStep over the summer as an intern, he shared facts and statistics with her about the world’s water crisis.

“The statistics that got me were that a child a died every 10 seconds due to a water related disease. I love kids so I couldn’t hear that and ignore it,” she said.

She set her first goal to collect 4,000 pairs of shoes, which would pay for one purification system at the time, but she exceeded her goal, collecting 8,500 in just five months.

She quickly set her next goal of 22,000 shoes, and collected even more than her goal again. “I’ve stopped setting goals because they always exceed my expectation,” she said. Members of the WaterStep staff have even called her the “Shoe Princess,” because of how successful and hard-working she has been with her shoe drives.

To promote shoe drives, Emma speaks at different 4h groups, schools, organizations, and churches. “At first I would contact a church and try to get in the newspaper to gain some attention,” she said, “ But at this point, people contact me to ask me to speak.” When she speaks, Emma shares the story of the world’s water crisis and what WaterStep is doing to help.

In January 2013, Emma went to Kenya to help install three water purifiers and was able to experience her own work come full circle. Emma’s older brother, who was supposed to lead the training, became sick the final day of the trip when he was supposed to train locals how to use the chlorine generator.

The missionary that was with them looked to Emma and said, “You’ll have to train them.” Emma stepped up to the plate and trained 12 African men how to install a chlorine generator. “It was cool to see that they listened to and trusted me, this American teenage girl.”

Emma also is passionate about the WaterBall, and speaking about it when she can. At a WaterStep event, she met a woman from Uganda who told her about how she grew up hauling water everyday and she had to walk for miles, knowing that this water she was hauling would eventually make her family sick. “The fact that I met her and she had so many stories and she didn’t go to school because she hauled water for her family really motivated me,” Emma said.

Emma talks about the WaterBall because her audiences are often groups of women who can connect to the women in developing countries who must sacrifice hours each day for their families.

Emma has made a huge impact on WaterStep’s mission through shoe collection, leading a training in the field, supporting the WaterBall and so much more. Her story is a reminder that anyone at any age can make a difference in the world. For more info on collecting shoes, check out our Why Shoes page.

Illinois group collects shoes for safe water

WaterStep’s mission is supported through shoe collection by groups like the Iona Group from Morton, Illinois, who sent us this great video from their shoe drive.

People from around the country collect shoes from their community and donate them to us. Shoes are sold to an exporter and funds received help bring safe water to those in need. We accept all types of shoes from high heels to high tops. In addition to funding water projects, donated shoes keep hundreds of tons of waste out of our landfills.

Illinois group collects shoes for safe water 2

Denise from the Iona Group wrote to us and said this:

“It has been an amazing year and I’m sure our stories are similar to many others.  This accomplishment was truly a community effort as overwhelming generosity and extreme creativity was displayed throughout the drive.   The shoes were donated in grocery sacks, shoe boxes, large boxes, garbage bags, laundry baskets, car and truck loads, and in carts.  Other people inspired us with their ingenuity in collecting and getting shoes to us. 

Our number of drop off locations more than doubled this year which directly impacted the success of this project as it allowed the community to drop off their shoe donations at a convenient location.  The donations started out much faster this year.  We were processing anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 pairs of shoes per week initially and in our final week, processed over 4,500 pairs of shoes.  In just two years, this local drive has kept over 22,000 pairs of shoes from entering the local landfills.  This has been a tremendous group effort to help others we will never meet . . . and for that, we are truly thankful.”

Illinois group collects shoes for safe water

Interested in donating your used shoes to WaterStep or hosting a shoe drive? Visit Why Shoes? to learn how you can be a part.

Vine Street Baptist Supports through Shoes

WaterStep’s mission is supported through shoe collection. People from around the country collect shoes from their community and donate them to us. Shoes are sold to an exporter and funds received help bring safe water to those in need. We accept all types of shoes from high heels to high tops. In addition to funding water projects, donated shoes keep hundreds of tons of waste out of our landfills.

Pictured are members of Vine Street Baptist Church, who collected shoes and toured the WaterStep office. These people, along with Vine Street Baptist Church and Highland Court Apartments, have collected over a thousand pounds of shoes over the years.

Support from shoe collections allow us to save more lives with safe water, and we are grateful to the many supporters of our shoe program. Check out our Why Shoes page to learn more about the process and how you can help out today!

Shoe donations support access to safe water in developing countries

Shoe donations support access to safe water in developing countries

Wesley Reece of WaterStep gives a tour to members of Vine Street Baptist Church

Volunteer Spotlight — Marcella Davis

ShoesWaterStep is so proud to have some of the best and most devoted volunteers around.  Today, we’d like to take the time to appreciate one in particular.  Marcella Davis, an 84-year-old resident at the Christian Care Community here in Louisville, is holding a city-wide shoe drive, with the goal of collecting 10,000 pairs of shoes by October 5th, to help people around the world obtain access to clean, safe water.

Marcella came to know WaterStep during the Mayor’s Give-a-Day Week in the spring and decided that collecting shoes was something she could do to help bring someone safe water that needed it.  What Marcella is doing is the epitome of our vision — grassroots support from everyday people looking to make a massive difference in the world.  We cannot thank her enough for her enthusiasm and drive, and we hope everyone can pitch in to help her reach her goal of collecting 10,000 pairs of shoes by October 5th.  Any amount of shoes you can donate will help make a difference.

Her shoe collection drive is being held on October 5th from 9 AM to 2 PM.  Please bring any new or used shoes you have to the WaterStep office at 625 Myrtle Street Louisville, KY 40208 or the Christian Care Community campus.  Additionally, any shoes donated during the CQ Jam for WaterStep concert at the Captain’s Quarters Grille in Prospect on October 5th will also go towards Marcella’s goal.  Thanks to donations and volunteers like Marcella, we are stepping closer to our goal of a world where everyone has access to safe water.

Middle School Staff Use Water Projects as Teaching Opportunities

Staff from East Oldham Middle School have traveled to install chlorine generators for WaterStep for six years. Dennis Mangum reported on why the water projects have been beneficial for their staff members and for students:
For the sixth consecutive year, staff from East Oldham Middle School traveled overseas to install Waterstep chlorine generators in needy communities longing for clean drinking water. This year, four staff members spent 15 days in rural China installing systems in 7 different schools. Though quite challenging, it was one of the most successful projects undertaken thus far. Over the past six years, over 6000 students have been given access to clean drinking water through the efforts of East Oldham Middle School. The students of EOMS have supported the annual projects by designing and selling T-shirts, hosting after-school “water dances”, donating “snack shack” money, and seeking donations from community businesses and members. The students use the chlorine generators to learn about chemistry in their science classes, and study water issues in social studies class. In language arts they read about young people from around the world who deal daily with water-related issues, and they use statistics dealing with water in math class. It has been the hope of the staff of EOMS, that through these annual “water projects”, students will gain a deeper sense of their global responsibilities as members of the human race, develop a “servant” attitude, and become more aware of the daily hardships that challenge so many people on a daily basis.