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Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 12:01 am

SHOES FOR WATER

How can shoes help solve the problem of poor water access in developing countries? George “The Shoeman” Hutchings has found a way. Hutchings’ Shoeman Water Project exports shoes to street vendors in Kenya, Haiti and South America, where the shoes are sold, and the proceeds go toward drilling wells in impoverished areas. Sean McConnell, a senior at Benedictine University in Springfield, is heading up a citywide shoe drive that has already collected about 1,500 pairs of shoes. McConnell says the shoe sales offer jobs to people who otherwise might not have them, as well as affordable shoes for pennies on the dollar. The money raised pays for well drilling rigs, water purification systems and training programs. McConnell says several local schools are helping collect shoes, including Springfield and Southeast high schools, Sacred Heart-Griffin, Lincoln Magnet, Grant, St. Patrick’s, St. Aloysius, Cathedral, Christ the King, Blessed Sacrament and more. All through November, shoes can be dropped off at Benedictine’s campus in Dawson Hall or the Charles Becker Library. Additionally, George Hutchings will speak at Benedictine at 1 p.m. on Nov. 14 in the gym. McConnell says it’s a good opportunity for students to learn about the global water crisis. It’s also a good opportunity to give your best instead of your old cast-offs. For more information on the Shoeman Water Project, visit www.shoemanwater.org.

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