Love of Community and Shoes Inspires Donation Project
Writer / Shelly Sack
A friend’s challenge to lead a shoes community service project quickly turned into an event in its own right for Trevon Davidson.
Davidson, 22, has a history of participating in organized community service events, and he fully embraced that challenge. He turned it into a gently used shoe collection and donation project that ultimately benefited his beloved community of Louisville. He busted his initial goal of 300, with 343 pairs ultimately collected.
“It started off as two guys talking,” Davidson says. “Community service wasn’t new to me. My mom always had me doing community service, [visiting] retirement homes.”
His love for shoes motivated him to focus on a shoe collection campaign that would help others. Davidson has been collecting shoes for quite some time. His favorite brands are Nike, Air Jordan, Doc Martens, Adidas, and most of all Crocs – shoes of all different types and price points.
“I believe whatever you have on your feet can decide how your day will go and give you confidence,” Davidson says. “Shoes are a big part of my life, and collecting shoes would be the best way for me to give back to my community.”
Davidson, a 2018 Ballard High School graduate, feels strong ties to his hometown of Shively and the greater Louisville area. In the largest city in Kentucky there are many individuals who are unable to afford shoes in the correct size. Children outgrow their shoes every two to four months. Some children even change their shoe size three times in a given year.
The project took place from February through June during 2021, while Davidson was taking remote college classes. He wanted to get the shoes to the final collecting spot to be distributed in time for summer.
Community support wasn’t hard to find for public drop-off locations until Davidson could collect the shoes. Individuals would send direct messages to the Instagram page and he would pick up the shoes as well. Davidson also held a few in-person donation events including one at Mall St. Matthews, and even received donations from as far as Florida.
“I have a few friends who were able to give me places like the Shawnee Boys and Girls Club and Piccazzo’s barber shop, and set up a box where people could drop off shoes and keep them safe,” he says.
When he began his project and contacted the final donation locations, Davidson said he was told that the shoes would need to be disinfected and kept in a controlled environment. This initially prompted him to rent a storage unit, but after getting his father’s permission to store the shoes at home, Davidson didn’t have to pay the storage fee any longer.
Shoes that ranged from children’s size four to men’s size 13 were given to the Clothing Assistance Program (CAP) offered through Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS). Through the CAP, JCPS families can receive clothing donations up to twice per year. The CAP has been up and running since 1971. The program leaders are always looking for donations, and through the project many families will be able to receive new or gently used shoes for their loved ones.
Another box of women’s dress shoes was donated to St. Vincent de Paul in downtown Louisville. Staff at both locations seemed “pretty shocked” by the donation, Davidson says.
Davidson’s friend Chris Young showed his support with several pairs of valuable shoes, including classic-style LeBron James and Kevin Durant Nike models. Many others are pictured on the project’s Instagram page with a thank-you from Davidson and the team for their donations.
“Coming up with a team is something I learned,” Davidson says regarding the response he received during and after the project. “It takes a village to make something work and come to fruition. My mom was on board. She likes anything that has to do with putting a smile on someone’s face. My dad – well, it took a little convincing to store 350 pairs of shoes, but he came along and helped me sort and box, and get to the right place. My parents were a big support system through the process.”
Davidson has put plans on hold this year for the program as he is focusing on graduating this fall from Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. He looks toward a career path in live television, news or even creating his own show. While the donation project will be on hold, he hopes to come back in the summer of 2023 with more ideas.
Davidson’s advice to anyone looking to give back is to start by having a plan and sharing the project with the community.
“What would you like to do in terms of giving back?” he says. “Make it special and take it serious. Having a plan is key. Stick to it and don’t slack off. Be consistent and you’re bound to have a huge turnout in my opinion. Spread awareness so people can help. You can’t do it on your own.”
“Louisville is always the first choice,” he adds. “No matter where I go, I just love my home, love my hometown, and it’s a good way to give back the way that I can right now. I want to do more than just shoes.”
For more information, visit NewHome4Kicks on Instagram.