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Youngchurch


Piling up shoes E


very color, brand and size of seemingly useless shoes clut- tered the lobby of Good Shep-


herd Lutheran Church, Gaithersburg, Md., before Christmas. Eyesore? Not to 15-year-old Jacob Feid. He launched the “Reuse a Shoe” project at his church to turn those old sports shoes into tracks and basketball and tennis courts.


Feid had been active in outreach projects with his confirmation class and heard of environmental con- nections through the congregation’s green ministry. When asked as a sophomore at Richard Montgomery High School to select a personal project, he landed on an idea with an impact on his closet, home, church, neighborhood and even the earth. Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program collects worn-out athletic shoes for recycling, regardless of manufac- turer. The shoes are transformed into Nike Grind, a material used for ath- letic and playground surfaces as well as select Nike products. More than 1.5 million pairs of postconsumer shoes are collected for recycling each year through the program, Nike reports.


Send stories of your youth group (pre- school-confirmation age) or craft ideas to: Andrea Pohlmann, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago IL 60631; andrea.pohlmann@ thelutheran.org.


“My old athletic shoes are always too worn-out to be used by anyone else, and they would remain in a landfill forever,” Feid said. “I’m very passionate about collecting these shoes because they are then recycled into sports surfaces, which create safe surfaces for children to play on.” Come to find out, the shoes can be broken into three parts: rubber from the outsole, foam from the midsole and fabric from the upper. Midsole


40 The Lutheran • www.thelutheran.org


When it comes to shoes, color and style don’t matter to


Jacob Feid. He collects worn- out shoes that will be trans- formed into


“safe surfaces for children to play on.”


foam from 2,500 pairs of shoes, for example, can make one outdoor bas- ketball court. Other components have other durable sports surface destinations. Worn-out, beloved sneakers donated at Good Shepherd may turn up in parks and playgrounds in the church’s vicinity in future months. Church members filled a box in the lobby, but Feid’s collecting didn’t stop


there. Members and friends spread the word to Boy Scout troops and neigh- bors, urging others to clean out their closets and drop off their discards at the church. When a local high school’s cross country team held their season’s end banquet in the the church’s fellowship hall, teens filled a lobby box to the brim with outgrown and damaged footgear. Feid and his mother, Jennifer DeMatteo, hauled hundreds of shoes to a Nike outlet store in Leesburg, Va., when the project wrapped up on Dec. 5. From there, the shoes were shipped to a Nike Grind processing facility in Port- land, Ore.


“Not only is Jacob learning how the energy and power of one person trans-


lates into good works, he’s showing us a new way to support green ministry and setting a lively example,” said Penny Risen, staff member of Good Shep- herd. “One can energize many.” M


Karen Krueger Krueger is communications coordinator for the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Synod.


Note: The shoe drive program is being revamped for 2011. Congregations interested in applying to participate should monitor the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe site for updates (nikereuseashoe.com).


PENNY RISEN


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