Here’s how to turn a problem into a solution that benefits an underserved community:
For years, the stockroom at our headquarters had been overflowing with hundreds of single sample shoes, traditionally used by our sales team. We re-purposed them for different creative projects (see pic below!), but had been looking for somewhere to donate them, where they might be of real use.
(wallets made from L & L shoes designed by California College of the Arts students)
Tada, we found the “National Odd Shoe Exchange” (NOSE)! NOSE http://www.oddshoe.org is a non-profit organization that provides footwear for people requiring single shoes or pairs of differing sizes. They provide shoes to people of all ages and because of various conditions or causes, like amputation, diabetes, and lymphedema.
The National Odd Shoe Exchange has a long and storied past. It was founded in St. Louis, Missouri in 1943 by Ruth Rubin-Feldman, a survivor of polio, who created the organization to provide different-sized shoes for other polio survivors. When wartime rationing made buying two sizes of shoes incredibly difficult for most, she came up with the idea of a service whereby people who needed different-sized shoes could register their names and sizes and swap shoes as necessary. Later, the need for single shoes grew as amputees came home from WWII and the organization was able to provide these veterans with the footwear they required.
Today, the National Odd Shoe Exchange is no longer disease-specific but assists people with a variety of conditions and lifestyles. They are able to ship new, good quality footwear to people across the United States and Canada from its distribution center in Arizona.
Just like Livie & Luca, the organization is about more than just footwear. They stand for:
Quality of life: “Properly fitted footwear is critical to general health and well-being. Proper footwear can often prevent worsening conditions, including amputation.”
Dignity: “No one should have to endure the indignity and embarrassment of wearing ill-fitting footwear.”
Respect: “No one should have to pay for footwear that is unneeded and unwanted simply to get the footwear they require.”
Livie & Luca is so honored to support such an important cause and also an organization that has a mission that goes beyond just getting the job done.