Shoe collection yields 1,000 pairs for needy

By Tania Hajali


Kinesiology major Eric Castillo held “A Walk in My Shoes” on Sunday, April 14, at Gayle and Tom Benson Stadium where he collected more than a thousand pairs of shoes for the needy.

“A Walk in My Shoes” spread mainly word-of-mouth and through social media.  Castillo started promoting the charity through Facebook and quickly gained the attention of the Public Relations Department at UIW. As a result, “A Walk in My Shoes” was virtually an overnight success.

“There were so many shoes,” Castillo said. “It filled up half the stadium. It was neat to see. I am always pleasantly surprised from our events.”

Castillo started the non-profit nine months ago with a partner, pharmaceutical representative Jessica Renee. Within six months, they had collected more than 5,000 pairs of shoes.

The shoes at Benson Stadium are destined for the SAMMinistries homeless shelter in San Antonio. Leftovers are then taken to other charitable organizations in need around San Antonio, such as the Boys and Girls Club.

“I think this is a great idea,” UIW student Ciara Garcia said. “I didn’t know it started from a UIW student. That’s really cool to see a schoolmate accomplish so much in such a short period of time.

Student Sara Slone said, “I think this is awesome. When it comes to things to be donated, shoes are so important. It’s one of those things that we all take for granted.”

“It felt good to give back,” student Katherine Jones said. “It’s awesome that they thought of this charity. I can’t believe there were 1,000 pairs of shoes out there on the field. I don’t know how they got all those shoes out of there.”

For Castillo, who’s on the Cardinals football team, athletic shoe donations can be inspirational to the wearer.

“To me running shoes promote health and exercise,” Castillo said. “By giving these people running shoes I hope to spread good health and strength to move on. I never expected it to spread so fast but I am willing to take it as far as I can go with this. I definitely see myself continuing to grow ‘A Walk in My Shoes’ after I graduate.

“I want to keep this going as long as I can. This has been an amazing journey with so many opportunities I never thought would come my way so I can’t wait to see what else is in store for ‘A Walk in My Shoes.’ ”

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