Most people would associate the first day of summer with sunshine, relaxing, and a refreshing drink. The Shoes.com team and their “ShoeCrew” had a slightly different idea on how to celebrate the start of summer – volunteering to give back to the community where they work each day.
As Title Sponsor of Footwear Cares®, Shoes.com can be seen at many of the group volunteer events held around Boston, but last week was something different. On a slightly overcast and rainy morning, 80 Shoes.com volunteers came out to clean up the Community Sprouts garden in Charlestown. This garden gives residents living in the community the chance to grow their own fresh fruits and vegetables and also benefits those in need who live in the neighborhood.
Working with Mayor Marty Walsh’s team, the Love Your Block group, Casella Waste Systems, and the Two Ten Footwear Cares® team, they cleared acres of trash and debris that had accumulated throughout the garden and road adjacent to the garden. The Shoes.com team were incredibly enthusiastic and came ready to work. They immediately jumped in grabbing trash bags, gloves, and debris. The group filled a 30-yard dumpster in under 30 minutes, and then kept looking for more to clean and organize. Jessie Gallager, Community Sprouts Board Member, and gardener, noted that the volunteers kept asking, “What else? What else? What else?”
This kind of effort and enthusiasm started at the top of Shoes.com, as the team was not only joined by the leadership including CEO, John Foristall, but his children as well. Volunteers saw the event as an opportunity to get out of the office and enjoy time with their co-workers and as a way to give back to the community that they might not otherwise see. Elizabeth Moderski, Senior Marketing and Communications Manager, said “Our partnership with Two Ten Footwear Cares® has given us opportunities like this one to be able to foster teambuilding while also making an impact in our communities in fun and unique ways.”
Team members also noted that it was the first time that so many of the Shoes.com crew had come together to volunteer, and team build. It was also many volunteers first event with Two Ten and Footwear Cares®. Hamish, part of the Category Management team at Shoes.com, noted that “very little time out of our day makes a big impact in the community.” Another Shoes.com volunteer, Nellie, part of the Customer Experience team, said “this is a really great teambuilding event, and I think it adds a lot to this community that we just moved to.” John Foristall also noted that Shoes.com is relatively new to Charlestown, but “we immediately made this our new home.”
When Jessie was asked about how the support of companies like Shoes.com affects community spaces like the garden his first response was, “This is so much help! Just the sheer number of people!” He also noted that “me and a couple of the volunteers could be here for an entire day and get a tiny bit done. Not even close to filling a dumpster.”
In total, the Shoes.com team cleared 1 acre of garbage, weighing over 5 tons. All of the volunteers left with a sense of accomplishment and having created stronger bonds as a team. With more work to do, the Shoes.com team is looking to return to the area with another dumpster and clear the other multi-ton pile of trash that had to be created due to filling the first to capacity.
Thank you to Shoes.com our Footwear Cares® Title Sponsor, and their amazing volunteers; the City of Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh’s office, and the Love Your Block team for helping coordinate the effort; Casella Waste for providing the dumpster for the project; and the Community Sprouts team for organizing the work. This was an incredible team effort that improved the space for all Charlestown residents.
If you and your team have amazing community service work, tell us here! We would love to share your story.
If you and your team are looking to join Footwear Cares®, please visit twoten.org/get-involved/footwear-cares for more information.