NJ charity makes it personal by hand-delivering goods to those in need
👟 NJ non-profit provides sneakers, clothes, food and more to people in need
👟 The items are hand-delivered to those in underserved communities
👟 Donations and volunteers are always needed
JERSEY CITY — About two years ago, a Jersey City native started a grassroots charitable organization that provides new and gently worn footwear, clothes, food, and personal hygiene products to the homeless and deprived individuals in underserved New Jersey communities.
It’s called Walk A Mile In Our Shoes based out of Jersey City. Founder and CEO, Eugene Campbell III said, unlike other charitable organizations, he and his team personally hand deliver shoes, sneakers, clothes, care packages, and more, to those in need.
“I just felt like when I started the organization, it’s definitely a warmer feeling when you hand deliver the things that these people need, to them. You see the smile on their face, the interaction, and the conversations you have with these people,” Campbell said.
Campbell, who is also a professional international basketball player, said his team does not just put items in bins that get shipped off to great causes. While there is nothing wrong with that, Campbell prefers the personal touch of hand delivering the goods to people and interacting with them.
Why the need for the organization?
“I always had the vision of giving back. I grew up in Jersey City. I’ve seen a lot of poverty. I’ve seen a lot of things going on that I wanted to make a change for, and I wanted to make a difference. I had the vision for so long. It just kept coming up in my head. I had dreams about it,” Campbell said.
When he says he is going to do something, he’s going to do it. That’s just the type of person he is, Campbell added.
“I’ve come across people that I’ve serviced in the community just walking to the store and it’s just a great feeling when I see them and they remember who I am. They say thank you so much for coming. When are you coming back? That makes me feel so good,” Campbell said.
How did Walk A Mile In Our Shoes begin?
Unofficially, the organization started in 2018 when Campbell was a freshman in graduate school at New Jersey City University. He would go around his campus with an empty bin asking people to donate clothes and shoes. The first thing he received was a pair of sneakers.
When he got a few pairs of sneakers, Campbell and a buddy put these sneakers in plastic baggies. When they did their first service, it was at Newark train station.
Campbell said he’ll never forget it was February and about 20 degrees. He and his friend walked around the train station giving out 12 to 13 pairs of sneakers of all different sizes to people who were sleeping outside in the cold.
He called it a humbling experience. “It made my heart bigger than it already was,” Campbell said. Once he saw how wonderful this was, Campbell and his friend wanted to continue helping. So, they hit Hoboken, New Brunswick, and Jersey City, hand-delivering sneakers to those in need.
In April 2019, Campbell joined a college fraternity called Psi Sigma Phi, a multi-cultural fraternity. The brothers loved his mission of giving back because they, themselves, were so philanthropic. They decided to make Walk A Mile In Our Shoes their national philanthropy for the fraternity.
From there, Campbell formed a team and they began to make multiple connections.
In April 2021, Walk A Mile In Our Shoes became an official 501c3 non-profit. Before he knew it, companies began donating clothes.
Since one committee member was a manager at a Shake Shack, the restaurant donated on multiple occasions, 40 burgers and 40 fries to people in need.
Since 2019, the organization has been growing and growing. Campbell said it’s been a blessing to have so many people behind him.
To date, the organization has fed and provided services to more than 1,000 men, women, and children in New Jersey, the New York tri-state area, Philadelphia, and in Europe.
How can people donate?
There are so many ways to donate items or make monetary donations. While Walk A Mile in Our Shoes is prevalent on many social media platforms, Campbell said the best way to get all the information needed is to go to the website.
Volunteers are also needed.