Ralph Rotella has been collecting shoes for the homeless at his shoe repair shop for seven years, but Rotella says donations of shoes this year are on track to break the all-time record.
"Last year we collected 15,000 thousand shoes this year I think we could have close to 17,000," he says.
Rotella started collecting shoes after a man with holes in his shoes came into his store on East Washington Street in downtown Syracuse. Rotella gave the man a pair of shoes and came up with the idea to collect shoes for those in need. Rotella repairs many of the donated shoes himself. He says everyone should have shoes for their feet and is happy to be able to help those in need.
"It makes me so happy to do this. I feel like an angel when people come in to donate shoes," he says. All donated shoes will benefit Rescue Mission stores in Syracuse and Oswego County.
Rotella is accepting donations for his shoe drive at his Discount Shoe Repair Store through December 19th.