The DeKalb High School "Eco-buds" environmental club has a few more steps to take to complete its sneaker collection drive.
Advisor Rachel Happ says the goal is collect 167 bags which hold 15 pairs of shoes each. So far, they have collected 18 bags. The club members are collecting new and used athletic shoes, which will be shipped to developing countries so people there can have good footwear.
The club is working with the group Sneakers4Funds, which collects and ships the shoes overseas. Sneakers4Funds issues a check based on the total weight of the athletic shoes gathered during the drive.
"We are saving our landfill a 10 x 10 foot area of something that doesn't really decompose," Happ said. "We are sending them out of our community, which doesn't mean it isn't our problem any more. It is a gift to this other country to give them jobs and then to give them shoes."
The money raised will support Hope Haven, Safe Passage, and the family of DHS teacher Ata Shakir, who is battling cancer.
DHS Senior Abby Masters is president of the Eco-buds club.
"Mr. Shakir is a very fun teacher," she says. "He is very relatable. I feel like he is able to make class fun, and he is just a good person overall."
Students in the group tie each pair of shoes together and then organize them into large green bags. Each bag holds 15 pairs. Organizers recently extended the sneaker challenge until May 8.
Drop-off locations include the main office and athletic office at DeKalb High School, the YMCA, Fitworkz, Anytime Fitness, and the NIU Recreation center.