A year after the dreadful Boston Marathon bombing, Mayor Marty Walsh decided it was time to see Boston on its feet, together, and stronger than ever. He announced the beginning of a new tradition: One Boston Day. Each year on April 15, the day of the horrific event, the people of Boston would come together to celebrate the resiliency and strength of every member of the community who helped and survived the tragedy. On One Boston Day, organizations, businesses and individuals unite to give back and make a difference in their community.
This year, St. Francis House, Boston’s largest shelter for the homeless, decided to join forces with John Hancock, Boston Marathon’s biggest sponsor, for a sneaker drive to benefit St. Francis House’s Fresh Threats department, which distributes about 3,000 pairs of shoes each year. The foundation placed collecting bins around the city for people to drop off new or almost intact sneakers before the official day of the shoe drive on One Boston Day.
“Our mission is to collect 2,000 shoes,” said Sharon Lee, St. Francis House’s Events Supervisor. “We’re already at 1,000, not counting today’s donations.”
Standing in front of the donation box placed in the intersection between Boylston and Exeter Street, Lee and volunteers encouraged the people who donated to tell their friends and share pictures on their social media profiles. Intrigued by the swarm of people around the boxes, bystanders who stood by the railings placed for the Boston Marathon went by to learn about the shoe drive and ended going to shopping departments nearby just to buy new shoes to donate.
With homelessness on the rise, the shoes donated at St. Francis House’s sneaker drive means for a sense of dignity and an opportunity for a second chance in life for those less-fortunate. Hope for a stronger, generous and big-hearted Boston community united everyone on One Boston Day to spread the love and give a hand, or shoe, to make a real difference.