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'Kicks for Comrades': Local charity collecting used shoes to help veterans

Posted at 9:07 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 21:11:30-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. — It’s a unique way to give back to those who have given so much.

“I think we kind of owe our veterans everything; they are the ones that are on the frontlines,” says Aegin Place of West Michigan CEO Mandy Moore.

Moore came up with the idea to collect kicks for comrades.

“We didn't want to go around asking for funds or asking for money,” says Moore. “We wanted to come up with a way where people can give us things they no longer wanted or needed.”

But the donations don't actually go to veterans. Instead, they'll be collected for a company called “Got Sneakers,” based out of Miami, Florida.

“They recycle and reuse the sneakers to keep them out of landfills and minimize the carbon footprint,” Moore explains.

The money received from that will then be donated to Lighthouse for Veterans in Fremont, an organization focused on veteran suicide prevention.

“I think it's a really, really cool concept that they can raise money while also using the things that they're getting donated,” says Lighthouse for Veterans Founder & President Natasha Heykoop. “To help people too, it's a win-win.”

Heykoop tells FOX 17 funds raised will help give veterans tools to combat PTSD, and purchase land for veteran retreats.

“I’d like to fill it up at least a few times if we can; there are a lot of generous people in the area,” says Brennon Halmond with Orchard Market.

You can also find other donation boxes throughout the Lakeshore area in Fremont, Muskegon and Holland.

“The good that we're doing in the community really can save a life,” says Heykoop, “so we are very, very grateful and very, very blessed.”

The organization is only accepting donations of tennis shoes, sneakers or any type of athletic shoes. Boots and flip-flops are not accepted because they are non-recyclable.

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