LIVINGSTON, NJ — Rather than wasting “the extra time [they] have been given” due to the pandemic, four Livingston High School (LHS) juniors—Nicki Depalma, Lauren Belcuore, Jamie Porigow and Becca Cullen—have “decided to take this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others.”
Together, the four teens created a charitable endeavor dubbed “Revamped Style,” which repurposes old shoes to be donated to those in need.
“As we shelter ourselves in our homes, it is important to stay connected with what is occurring in the world, including the struggles of others,” they said in a joint statement. “Living in an affluent town like Livingston, we recognize that people across the globe are suffering tremendously not only health-wise, but also financially as a result of the pandemic.
“While enduring one of those dragging, painful days that we are all too familiar with, and in the process of cleaning out our closets, each of us noticed that we all had a bunch of old shoes just lying around. Sure, we could just donate them as is; but why not do something a little extra? Thus, Revamped Style was created.”
In order to take Revamped Style to the next level, the group has partnered with Soules4Souls, which donates old shoes through a micro-enterprise option. Now, each donated sneaker is cleaned and touched up with a colorful, creative design while other shoes being are cleaned up and donated as is.
The teens have also been in touch with Lizzy Swiderski, Soules4Souls representative for Northern New Jersey, who they said was “thrilled to hear about [their] idea and gave [them] some insight on what impact [their] donated shoes are going to have.”
“Soules4Souls’ mission is to provide relief to people in need and turn unwanted shoes into opportunities in impoverished countries and areas,” they said. “These donations will help people sustain their lives and businesses, which includes buying food and clothing and paying for an education. These shoes offer a long-term solution and long-lasting impact for struggling countries, people and the economy.”
According to the group, social-distancing regulations have made it difficult to get other involved in this mission; but the girls said they are eager to start a new club at Livingston High School in the fall, where they can “get more students and staff involved” and “set up a donation box in various areas of the school.”
They also expressed hope that they will be able to broaden this platform within the community in the near future as well.
“If you find yourself cleaning out your closet and a pile of shoes begins to mount, consider holding on to them until you can donate them to us for a refurbished contribution,” they said.
Those interested in becoming involved in the future or have shoes to donate should contact email@example.com or direct message @revamped.style on Instagram.