When someone is homeless or trying to recover from a natural disaster, they lack a lot of the basic life necessities that many of us take for granted. While people are often inspired to donate canned goods, not everyone is thinking about things like shoes.

Of course, you can’t go looking for a new job or a home, if you have no shoes to walk in. One woman in Hays, Kansas took this into account, and found a brilliant way to help hundreds of people.

Payless stores are going out of business, and the stores that remain are having huge liquidation sales, so a woman named Addy Tritt bought out all the remaining shoes at the Hays Payless store — more than 200 pairs — and donated them to flood victims in Nebraska.

Those shoes were then included in a flood relief shipment taken to farmers in Nebraska by Fort Hays State University’s agriculture sorority Sigma Alpha. Tritt, who recently graduated from FHSU’s human resources program, wanted to “pay it forward.”

“I have been so blessed,” she said. “There have been so many great people in my life who have inspired me. I see so many horrible things in the news. So many people have helped me when I was down, I want to help if I can.”

Since Payless is going out of business, shoes were selling for as little as $1 per pair, which is how Tritt thought to buy all the shoes that were left. Tritt negotiated with the store for a special deal on top of the already low prices and bought 204 pairs of shoes for $100. This included 162 pairs of baby shoes, two pairs of men’s shoes, and 40 pairs of women’s shoes. The shoes originally retailed for $6,000 total.

Tritt has a history of charitable acts. She has donated more than 60 bags of school supplies to Hays students, and organized a baby clothes drive and two supply drives for the animal shelter.

“I really feel I have been directed and guided to help people,” she said. “If you can do something for someone else, you need to find a way even if it is a pair of shoes.”

Tritt was very sad to see all the destruction left by the Nebraska flooding but still felt wonderful that she got to help others in its aftermath.

“I just hope this inspires other people to volunteer and donate if you have been blessed,” she said.


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