As families and friends across our great country gather this week for the Thanksgiving Day holiday, the team at the Funds2Orgs Group wants to thank our partners for trusting us with their creative fundraising efforts, which help them raise the money they need. Every day we have people collecting gently worn, used and new shoes to fund their schools, animal rescues and shelters, nonprofits, churches, adoptions and medical fundraising. We’re grateful to be part of their stories in raising money for their needs, be it in their community or around the world.
As we prepare to enjoy turkey and foods with all of the trimmings, the team at the Funds2Orgs Group wants to answer one of the questions we’re often asked, because, in the spirit of gratitude, our answer allows all of our partners and the people who give their shoes to a shoe drive fundraiser to do so much for people they will never meet around the world.
How Shoes Help People All Around the World in Developing Nations
When you and those you know in your community give you their gently worn, used and new shoes, the footwear is consolidated with many others from partners across North America. The shoes are then shipped to developing nations, such as Haiti, which is the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere.
In that country, the shoes are sold for pennies on the dollar to micro-entrepreneurs who have limited work opportunities because of systemic poverty. In fact, in most cases, if a person living in that country is not selling something in their community, such as shoes, they are not making money for their family because jobs are scarce and good paying jobs are rarer still. Many people in Haiti find themselves having to start a small business selling merchandise to have any hope of working themselves out of poverty.
Facts About Haiti
One of the nations where the Funds2Orgs Group sends the shoes from shoe drive fundraisers is to the country of Haiti. The World Bank has reported a few of the following facts about Haiti.
- In the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is the most impoverished country.
- Haiti is the third largest nation in the Caribbean, after the Dominican Republic and Cuba.
- 4 million people live in Haiti, and over 6 million (59 percent) live below the national poverty level of $2.41 USD per day.
- 5 million Haitians, which is 24 percent of the entire population, barely survive living below the national extreme poverty line of $1.23 USD.
- In the country, the average per capita income is $480 USD annually, compared to $33,550 in the United States. Also, Haiti has high inflation, which makes it more difficult for its people to make a sustainable living.
Creating Commerce and Business Opportunities
Another question that the team at the Funds2Orgs Group is asked is why the shoes collected are sold to micro-entrepreneurs instead of being given to them. The answer is simple. Our philosophy is to provide people with an opportunity to help themselves out of poverty. If we just gave away the footwear, we would destroy the market in the very communities we’re trying to help, which would decimate jobs for people in Haiti and other developing countries around the world. Also, in some countries, particularly in Africa, local laws and regulations do not allow for merchandise to be given away, precisely because they are trying to preserve the integrity of local businesses.
Our Partners Are Part of a Movement to Help Others Around the World
This week, millions of people across the United States will be pausing to come around the dining room table to celebrate Thanksgiving. Thousands of those people will be folks who have joined us as partners or gave their gently worn, used and new shoes to a shoe drive fundraiser. Again, we want to say thank you. What you have done––every day of the year––has helped so many people around the world. In other words, you’ve made a difference.
On behalf of the micro-entrepreneurs who are the partners of the Funds2Orgs Group around the world in developing nations, and our team across the U.S. and abroad, we thank you for placing your trust in us. We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.
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