TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay-area nonprofit focused on providing shoes for the homeless is holding a fundraiser on Friday to help them reach their goal of donating 1,000 pairs of sneakers This year.
“It’s really just the love of our community and being there to serve them,” said Stephanie Simpson, Vice President of Agape Shoes.
The nonprofit’s founders previously helped other organizations feed the homeless.
“During the pandemic, we were serving homeless people on the streets,” Simpson said. “So we [saw] a need and there are an average of between 1,000 and 5,000 homeless people in the Tampa Bay area. They average three to four pairs of shoes a year. So we decided to start and help these people. This is how Agape Shoes was born.
The organization raises money for new shoes from local businesses and other community members.
Last year they were able to give away 165 pairs of shoes for Christmas.
“What ‘agape’ really means is sharing love and we just want to make sure everyone knows homeless people are people too and deserve [shoes] just like the rest of us,” Simpson said.
On Friday, Agape Shoes will host a fundraiser for the entire community to attend at American Legion Post 138, located at 5535 W Prescott St in Tampa. There will be free food, a DJ and raffles.
Admission is a pair of men’s trainers, sizes 9-13.
When Agape Shoes reaches its goal of 1,000 pairs of shoes donated this year, it doesn’t stop.
“Our future contributions, the more donations we receive, we seek to give to group homes around the Tampa Bay area,” Simpson said.