WATERTOWN — Yellow, green, blue and purple sneakers sit in a pile at Jeannie Atkinson’s home. The goal that goes with the soles is to raise funds and awareness for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our team goal is 3,001 pair of shoes,” she said. “It helps us, helps the environment and helps other countries.”
Ms. Atkinson, along with friend Carol Hover, of team “Hall’s Helping Hands,” have been spreading the word.
“We’ve just started; shoes are coming from all over,” said Ms. Atkinson.
Each pair of gently-used shoes donated, in decent condition, is sold for $1. The shoes are then boxed, shipped and sorted in other countries for sale. Shoes that aren’t in the best shape are sold for 10 cents. Those, in most cases, are recycled or disposed of.
All funds from the local project will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York, an organization near and dear to Ms. Atkinson.
“It’s all about awareness, It’s important to me. My father is 91 years old and has had Alzheimer’s about 12 years,” she said. “He does not know who I am. Even if we tell him my name he doesn’t know who I am.”
In addition to the collection of shoes as a fundraiser, Ms. Atkinson volunteers with the Alzheimer’s Association of Central New York and provides support for the local Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
“This year’s walk is in Sackets Harbor again on September 14. We will include the shoe totals in the amount raised through the team for the walk,” she said.
By the numbers
n 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, including 400,000 in the New York
n More than 16 million Americans serve as unpaid caregivers to a person living with dementia
n Every 65 seconds, someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s
n Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in America