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Park District Launches Campaign to Collect Food and Footwear


As we celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service (NPS) and its stewardship of the over 400 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas covering more than 84 million acres, the Arlington Heights Park District announces the launch of a new community-wide effort taking steps to end hunger for families locally and to put shoes on the feet of people around the world. The footwear component of the campaign is the brainchild of the District’s employee-driven EnviroGroup and is just one way this group of dedicated staff aims to fulfill its mission. 

Sheila Cruz, administrative assistant for the Parks & Planning Department and spokesperson for EnviroGroup explains, “The EnviroGroup’s mission is to help set a high standard of leadership and competency in the promotion and incorporation of sound environmental practices and lifestyles.  We wanted to partner with an agency that not only contributes to providing shoes to people who may never have owned a pair of shoes, but we especially liked the idea of repurposing gently worn adult and children shoes, boots, sandals, and slippers which means they won’t end up in landfills.  And since we’ve been partnering with Lavelle Law to collect food for a few years too, we thought why not make it a ‘food and footwear’ drive?  And, so here we are.”

The FOOD FOR THE SOLE (taking steps to end hunger) campaign will run from October 3, 2016 to December 3, 2016 via on-site collection bins located at:  Olympic Indoor Swim Center, Forest View Racquet and Fitness Club, the Senior Center, the Administration Center, Camelot, Pioneer, Recreation, and Frontier Community Centers.  Click here to learn what food and footwear are needed here.

The effort benefits the Share Your Soles – Children Caring|Children Sharing organization and strengthens the District’s involvement in the 7th annual Arlington Heights Food Drive presented by the Palatine-based Lavelle Law, LTD. Food donations benefit the Wheeling Township and Elk Grove Township Food Pantries.

Cruz added, “We are particularly in need of donations of gently worn or new shoes, and cleats are acceptable, but it’s important that any used shoes are in good condition to respect the dignity of those receiving our donations. So we want to encourage the public to please be respectful with their donations, and to understand that the goal is to provide good, clean footwear to those in need. For example, tennis shoes should include laces and not have holes.  The EnviroGroup team will personally deliver all footwear donations collected to the Pullman Industrial Center located at 900 E. 103rd St. in Chicago.  Those who wish to make a cash or check donation to support Share your Soles should visit

Park District staff at the various collection locations will be encouraging donations from patrons and residents in their neighborhoods while internally competing against each other.  The Park District is optimistic that a little bit of friendly competition between the facilities will not only raise awareness about the campaign, but will generate both donations and create a sense of team spirit. 

About the Campaign Partners

Lavelle Law, Ltd.: With the help of clients and friends, Lavelle Law Charities launched the Arlington Heights Food Drive to benefit those in need in Wheeling Township.  Their donations and financial support now also allows Lavelle Law to have drop-off locations throughout the Arlington Heights community. 

Share Your Soles Mission:  To provide gently worn/new shoes to those in greatest need around the world.  Strives to ensure that gently worn or new shoes of any kind (boots, slippers, sandals and shoes) are going to people who may have never owned a pair. 

Wheeling Township and Elk Grove Township Food Pantry: Food Pantries are stocked by donations received from the community. Wheeling Township and Elk Grove Village residents who need food due to financial difficulties may use the pantries.

Mission:  The Arlington Heights Park District enriches the community by providing quality recreation, facilities and fun.  We do this by:
  • Ensuring the efficient and effective use of financial resources and Park District assets.
  • Providing innovative recreational opportunities and facilities to meet the diverse programming needs of our community.
  • Continuing the District's pursuit of being a community, regional, state and national leader.
  • Promoting an environment of cooperation, collaboration and teamwork.
  • Providing quality internal and external customer-focused service.
  • Providing stewardship of our open spaces and natural resources.
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