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Sep 26, 2016

Hutt Valley High School students form Happy Feet charity, gifting shoes to the needy

The shoe will be on the other foot if a group of Hutt Valley High School students succeed with an impressive feat designed to help others.

happyfeet

The four students have come up with a business model that is comparable to food rescue organisation Kaibosh - but instead of rehoming food past its best-by date, they are re-homing shoes.

Caleb Williams, 17, Dylan Pringle, 17, Alex Butler, 17, and Micah Rillstone, 18, have collected more than 150 pairs of shoes so far, mainly from door-to-door collections around Wellington and a shoe drive at school.

Williams, the marketing manager, says the school has provided them with enough resources to make a difference, so they quickly realised they would get more satisfaction from a charity than a profit business.

"It's far more rewarding knowing that people in need will benefit from this."

The group is currently re-homing the donated shoes at places such as Wellington Night Shelter, low decile schools and refugee centres. They donated about 70 pairs of shoes to the Wainuiomata Koha Shed on September 5.

Hutt Valley-based National List MP Chris Bishop has been giving the group support and advice because he sees great potential in the concept.

"It's a great social enterprise idea. I can think of four or five pairs of shoes I've got sitting at home that I will now donate."

Bishop also knows how much work goes into Young Enterprise projects. He entered the competition himself when he was at high school, creating personalised face plates for Nokia cell phones.

"It's important to foster a sense of entrepreneurialism in young people," he says. "To give them the sense that they can take on the business world and grow themselves but also the New Zealand economy."

Williams is considering studying business and marketing at Victoria University in 2017.

 

Article by Megan Gattey, Stuff.