SYRACUSE, N.Y. — For most, it was a normal morning, but for Ralph Rotella, Owner of Discount Shoe Repair, it was a day to help out the community as he donated 37,370 pairs of shoes in 2021 to the Rescue Mission.
This is Rotella’s 11th consecutive year donating shoes, which all started when he saw a someone walking outside with a whole in their shoes during the cold winter months in Central New York.
Rotella donated 23,187 in 2020 and originally his goal was to donate 30,000 but he beat that goal.
“You have a nice pair of shoes when you were young in your country, you feel so good. Now we got so many, well, we’re gonna share to everybody,” said Rotella.
People part of the rescue mission, and numerous community members, Skechers Shoes and Syracuse Mayor, Ben Walsh came out to help carry boxes and bags of shoes into the the giant truck.
Rotella has been shipping out shoes for months and on Thursday shipped a total 7,000 shoes were being shipped today in their fifth truck this year.
To get the shoes ready, he will clean, repair, and store them away safely so the shoes are in tip-top condition and even if they aren’t salvageable, the Rescue Mission uses a recycle company where they get pennies on the dollar which adds up and use that money to hep provide meals, clothe, and other necessities to those in need.
Rescue Mission’s Mackenzie Naum, Director of Major Gift, shared kind words and praised Rotella for his kind nature and bashfulness, and mentioned he only wants to help others in any way that he can.
“The shoes are used in so many different capacities that we couldn’t be happier,” said Naum. “We couldn’t be more grateful for Ralph, so we’re happy he does this.”