Brookfield company collects shoe donations for Africa

920x920BROOKFIELD – It’s a little box in the corner of a little store, but the contents make a big difference for thousands of children and adults in Africa.

 Woodbridge Running Company, with a location in Brookfield, collects old footwear for Rerun Shoes, a recycling company that brings the shoes to those in need in Africa.

“Someone told me about the program and, for me, it was a no-brainer,” Chris Dickerson, owner of Woodbridge Running Company, said. “It keeps old shoes out of the landfill and puts them on the feet of people who need them.”

It goes beyond that for Dickerson. He receives 50 cents per pound by Rerun Shoes for the footwear that is donated. Dickerson donates that money to Autism Speaks, another cause dear to his heart.

“Then I found out that Rerun Shoes employs people with special needs, including autism. It’s just a win-win-win,” Dickerson said.

Rerun Shoes employs people with disabilities to help prepare the shoes for shipment.

Woodbridge Running Company moved to its current location at 632 Federal Road less than a year ago. It had been located at 800 Federal Road near Four Corners, an area that is slated for redevelopment. It opened in Brookfield in 2010.

“We’re more visible now in our new location,” Alene Lofink, manager of the Brookfield store, said. “We were hard to find before.”

Lofink said she empties the box of donated shoes every couple of weeks.

“We’ve donated hundreds, if not even more, from this location,” she said. “Someone just dropped off a pair 10 minutes ago.”

Even though Woodbridge Running Company specializes in athletic shoes and apparel, Lofink said shoes of all types may be donated, as long as they are paired and still wearable. She said she has seen cleats, spikes, dress shoes, sandals and sneakers in the box.

“People would rather donate them than throw them away,” Lofink said. “I have people come in with bags of shoes.”

It also has locations in Woodbridge and Northampton, Mass. There are boxes in all three of its stores.

“It’s growing, too,” Dickerson said. “Once people hear about it, they keep coming back.”


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