AP NEWS

Sophomores collect shoes as Baraboo prom fundraiser

February 22, 2019

Baraboo High School’s sophomores are venturing outside the box this year to raise funds for their junior prom. Instead of selling pastries or asking for money, they want your shoes.

The shoes can be new or gently used, any style and any size, so long as they are left at one of the several dropoff points around Baraboo before March 21, said sophomore class adviser and teacher Shelley Mordini.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and each class does it a slightly different way,” Mordini said. “This is the first one I’ve ever done a shoe drive with, so it’s very unique.”

Donated shoes will be sent to funds2orgs.com, a social enterprise company, that in turn sends the shoes to “micro-entrepreneurs” in developing countries, according to the company’s website. Its goal is to help locals maintain small, sustainable businesses by providing inexpensive inventory they can resell at a profit.

“We really think that what they’re doing is really good,” said Ashley Palecek, vice president of the sophomore class, “and it’s a good way for us to raise money and not feel bad for, you know, collecting it for selfish reasons, because they’re all going to a good place where they can be used.”

Mordini said she looked into different fundraising options and found Funds2Orgs matched the students’ goals best.

Spearheaded by members of the class’ student council, the shoe drive began Jan. 21 and was supposed to finish March 1, but nine days of canceled school made for a slow start, Mordini said. They extended the drive until March 21.

With about 500 collected so far, Palecek said they want to reach at least 2,100 pairs of shoes, the threshold at which Funds2Orgs will give the class $1,000. Mordini noted that another 400 pairs would get them free shipping. The students should raise a total of about $1,500 to $2,000 for prom, Mordini said.

To encourage donations, Mordini referenced the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” in which organizing consultant Kondo helps people declutter by getting rid of things that don’t actively bring them joy.

“Shoes that aren’t bringing joy should come to us,” Mordini said.