Blue Jeans & Boots brings together footwear for Earth Day | Butterfly

SPRINGFIELD — Members of the Springfield Blue Jeans & Boots 4-H Club commemorated Earth Day 2022 with a huge community-wide shoe drive.

The group of 40 members, ages 5 to 16, scoured the Springfield area, collecting more than 500 pairs of new and gently used shoes, according to Beth Meister, leader of Blue Jeans & Boots.

“We’re always looking for ways to involve the community,” Meister said.

Reusing the shoes is estimated to eliminate 16,500 pounds of carbon emissions that would otherwise be produced by making another 500 pairs. It also removes 687 pounds of waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.

The recycled shoes were donated to Soles4Souls, a global non-profit organization created by online company Zappos. Its micro-enterprise program provides entrepreneurs in developing countries with a product to sell, enabling these small businesses to earn a living. Meister said Blue Jeans & Boots’ contribution would provide a family with food, shelter and education for at least nine months.

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“It’s really cool that this is going for something so beneficial to the world,” she said.

To further celebrate Earth Day, the club joined other Douglas-Sarpy 4-H members at Elmwood Park in Omaha on Saturday, April 23. Their tent was filled with all manner of rabbits, lambs, goats, turtles, chicks, and even a snake for good measure.

Dozens of “city children” were able to admire, touch and learn about life on the farm, from breeding to crop cycles during the whole day of the festival.

“It helps kids learn that we’re all part of this Earth,” Meister said.