JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The owner of a Jacksonville shoe repair shop is asking the public to donate new or used shoes for him to clean, repair and donate to the homeless.
“I love what I do,” Chris Barrett, owner of A1 Shoe Repair at Deerwood, said. “I take pride in what I do. But I like helping people.”
Every month, Barrett scours his shelves to find shoes that haven’t been picked up for a year. Then he donates them.
“Instead of taking it to a thrift store where the make a profit, give it to somebody that needs it,” Barrett said.
Out of that calling to help those in need, Barrett launched “Soles for Duval.” The initiative, which will last the month of February, calls on the public to donate shoes. Barrett has already received 52 pairs to donate to churches and organizations helping the homeless.
“These right here I’ll end up cleaning and shining, help that guy get that job that he’s got an interview get back on his feet,” Barrett said while holding a donated pair of men’s dress shoes. “Help his kids and his family.”
It’s almost like Barrett knows who will someday wear the shoes. Maybe he does.
“I’m a single parent myself. I have custody of my three daughters,” Barrett said. “In the past, I’ve struggled, now I’m doing good for myself I’m doing good for my children.”
“You see people getting laid off all the time,” Barrett continued. “And they have to budget. Your shoe makes a statement about who you are. And especially in a job your shoe is gonna tell how you are and shoe is gonna help a guy get a job. I guarantee it.”
The shoe repairs will total hundreds of dollars, coming from Barrett’s own wallet. But you can’t put a price tag on a good sole.
Barrett said they’re especially in need of men’s shoes, both dress shoes and sneakers. Anyone wishing to donate can drop off shoes at the shop.
A1 Shoe Repair at Deerwood is located at 9928 Old Baymeadows Road. Barrett asks that people only drop off shoes during store hours, which can be found here.