Twenty times League of Ireland champions Shamrock Rovers have thrown their weight behind a national campaign to ship pre-loved sports shoes from Irish families to township children in South Africa.
Rovers have volunteered several resources to the In My Shoes campaign which is working with schools, sports clubs and families to collect several thousands of no longer needed boots.
Shamrock Rovers has teamed up with their partners The Square Tallaght and Skechers Ireland to support the appeal.
The club are running a used sports shoe collection event outside the cinema in The Square together with a players meet and greet on Friday April 28th, from 3pm to 4.30pm.
Club mascot Hooperman will also be there to meet those donating and there will be lots of great prizes and giveaways.
To add even more to the occasion everyone who donates a pair of sports shoes at The Square event will get a 20% off Skechers voucher.
The League Champions will also be holding a collection in the club shop in Tallaght Stadium during opening hours on Friday 28th and Saturday 29th April. This will be drop-off only. Shop hours are Friday 2pm to 7.45pm (home match vs Sligo Rovers KO 8pm) and Saturday 12pm to 4pm. Sport shoes must be in decent condition, and clean with no dirt on them.
Announcing their support for the appeal Ross Cullinane, Operations Manager of Shamrock Rovers FC said: “In conjunction with our partners, The Square and Skechers, Shamrock Rovers is delighted to support this initiative. In My Shoes is a brilliant organisation and we would encourage all our fans to come along and donate their used sports shoes. We would also encourage any schools or underage teams to get involved and support this great cause.”
Spreading the news of their support for the appeal Shamrock Rovers has emailed their 12,000 subscribers with details of their involvement.
Their community officer will get in touch with their academy, partner and affiliate clubs and schools.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in Cape Town, Casey Prince, Executive Director of Ubuntu Football said: “We are so thankful and excited to work alongside the In My Shoes Programme and clubs in Ireland like Shamrock Rovers. These boots and trainers will benefit our ambitious young players tremendously.
“They all dream of playing for a club like Shamrock Rovers one day, and quality boots will aid that process in making that dream a reality. In the process we have the opportunity to shape them into significant people that will help South Africa reach its full potential.”
In My Shoes was set up in 2019 after its now MD Sligo native Ciarán McHugh visited the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town, home to over a million people. There he saw the many hardships faced by children, including those playing football without boots.
In two pilot appeals 15,000 pairs of sports shoes were shipped to South Africa after the feet of their original owners in Ireland had outgrown them.
In My Shoes shipping partners UPS brought the welcome cargo to less fortunate kids in townships across Africa.
The appeal now has hundreds of schools nationwide registered to collect shoes, the aim being to gather tens of thousands of the gently worn boots and send them to underprivileged township children.
Schools can register this week up to this Friday 28th April.
Appeal co-founder and MD Ciaran McHugh said: “Shoes are more than just foot protection in an African township, they can be the difference between a hopeful or bleak future.”
“We connect your acts of kindness with those most in need a world away so that everyone can have the gift of opportunity. I have never been involved in a project before where so many wanted to do so much for so little.”
To get involved with the In My Shoes campaign visit inmyshoescharity.org. The donation appeal runs until this coming Friday, 28th April. Schools are encouraged to register via the website.