Oscar winner Jeremy Irons and Olympic gold medalist Adam van Koeverden were among the stars gathered at the Ron White flagship store at Bloor and Bay recently to give poverty the boot.
They, along with fashion designer David Dixon, singer Suzie McNeil and Broadway star Louise Pitre, kicked off the 13th annual Shoe Drive for the Homeless last Thursday.
Each of them autographed a pair of gently worn shoes and donated them to the Canadian retailer. They will be displayed during the drive, from Jan. 8 to Feb. 15, and after that will become a part of the Ron White collection.
The shoe drive collects footwear at all six Ron White store locations in Toronto and Oakville. Shoes are cleaned, sorted and then distributed to the homeless.
Ron White, the CEO and creator of Ron White shoes, came up with the idea after walking past a homeless man sitting on the ground near his Yonge and Eglinton store.
“What you do when you’re in my business is you look at their eyes, then you look at their feet,” says White.
“I saw his toes and they were actually popping out of the end of his shoes and it was snowing. When I looked there was actually a snowflake that landed on his big toe. I thought, ‘This guy is going to get a frost bite.’”
Last year, White collected his all-time record of shoes at just over 2,000 pairs and this year he’s aiming for 2,500. To date, they’ve collected about 16,000 pairs of shoes since the drive began.
And the current economic situation isn’t dampening his spirit.
“This charity and this event is perfect,” says White. “We’re not asking for money or their cheque book to be open. Kick off the new year fresh and go clean out your closet and look at your winter shoes.”
Donate your gently worn shoes at these locations:
• 2465 Yonge St., Toronto
• 25 The West Mall, Toronto, Sherway Gardens
• 55 Bloor St. W., Toronto, Manulife Centre (flagship and boutique located here)
• 2901 Bayview Ave., Toronto
• 162 Lakeshore Rd. E., Oakville