One shoe company has now sold more than 19 million pairs of its very first shoe. While this is certainly an impressive feat of business, one doctor has an even more heartwarming story of footwear.
Though he hasn’t quite hit the 19 million mark, Dr. Don Kim of Long Beach has led a shoe drive for nearly 20 years. As of 2016, he has collected and donated approximately 100,000 pairs of shoes to those in need.
Kim was inspired while providing free podiatry care in Mexico.
“Kids that I saw in Mexico, they were playing soccer, but they didn’t have shoes. Even though they were great players, obviously it couldn’t protect them from injuring their toes, and when they’re kicking and spraining ankles and a lot of different things they do playing soccer, they can really help when you have shoes,” he said.
When he returned to Southern California, he realized that kids here in the U.S. were in need of shoes as well.
Kim has a 13-year-old helper, Monica Hyndman, who has been contributing to the shoe drive since she was in second grade. For the past six years, Monica has been setting up collection boxes at her school and encouraging her friends to bring in old shoes.
“It makes me feel good to help other kids,” Monica said. “I do this because it’s the right thing to do, and I was inspired when I went to Guatemala when I was in first grade. I took a trip to Guatemala, I saw kids with no shoes and I said I need to make a difference.”
Earlier this month, Monica and other volunteers sorted through shoes during this year’s drive, which took place at the Dr. Kim Foot Center in Long Beach.