Mom collects shoes to repurpose; donates money to Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It can take 30 to 40 years for your old shoes to decompose if they end up in the landfill, so instead of throwing them away, a mom in Virginia Beach wants to take them off your hands.

Valery Hendrickson is collecting old shoes as part of a fundraiser for an organization close to her heart - the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.

She's motivated by her son Greyson, who's almost six.

"He is a spitfire. I can't even explain to you.  He makes me laugh every day," Hendrickson said.

But when she and other parents of children with Down syndrome need a little help, the DSDN  gives them a place to turn, to ask questions and find support groups.

"People who have older children have already been there, done that, can kind of give you some ideas," Hendrickson said.

Here's how her fundraiser works: for every usable shoe she sends to a separate organization called GotSneakers, she earns a dollar she gives to DSDN.

"They actually take the shoes and re-purpose them.  They give them to someone who can't afford shoes," Hendrickson said.

They're mainly looking for sneakers, but they'll accept any shoe except flip flops.

If the shoes can't be reused, they're still recycled into other products, like playgrounds.

Each bag she sends in can hold about 17- 20 pairs of shoes.  She's sent in 21 bags so far, with more being filled up every day.

Her friends and neighbors have rallied to support the cause.  Now she's hoping others will reach into their closets to support her as well.

Hendrickson will be collecting shoes until June 30th.

You can find out more about the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network or GotSneakers online.