It all started one summer afternoon when Calvin juniors Ahna Terpstra and Kayla Rosendale, student employees in the college’s development office, were comparing their shoes. “We talked about how much fun it would be for girls to exchange shoes,” said Terpstra, 20.
The two happened to be comparing shoes with Calvin Annual Fund director Suzy Karadsheh, who suggested they use the idea to benefit the college’s Community Care Fund. “Then it was just a matter of turning it into a fundraiser,” Terpstra said.
Gently used footwear
It’s called Two Shoes. Since the fall semester began, Terpstra and Rosendale have been collecting gently used shoes—loafers, athletic shoes, pumps and others— from Calvin students, faculty and staff. They will sell the shoes for $2 a pair from 1 to 3 p.m. on the Commons Lawn. Participants may donate shoes on the day of the event. “And you can donate money if you don’t have shoes,” Terpstra said.
The proceeds from Two Shoes will benefit the Calvin’s Community Care Fund, founded in 1990 to help students in times of financial crisis. “It’s one way the college is able to support the student body and the Calvin community and to help those who have an unexpected crisis come up,” said Chris Ellens, an annual fund analytics specialist.
Over the past 20 years, the Community Care Fund has paid for housing for everything from oral surgery to the aftermath of an apartment fire. It regularly covers plane tickets for bereaved students and expenses for visiting family members (when a student has a medical or other emergency).
Norm Zylstra,who helped out with Two Shoes, loves the focus of the event. "I love the teaching part,” said Zystra, who serves as Calvin’s coordinator of student and young alumni programming. "It’s not so much about the ‘Give!’ but just becoming aware that people do give to the college. From the first-year student who gives $5 at a LOFT offering to the Heritage Class Member who gives $50, 000 to the annual fund—we need all of their gifts for Calvin to fulfill its mission.”
The response to the event has been gratifying, he added: “I’ve never had an event that people jumped on Facebook as fast.”
People are also donating their shoes, and the bins are filling up fast, said Terpstra: “We were sorting through one of the bins and saying, ‘Oh, these are so cute! These are so cute,'” Rosendale said.
"I love shoes,” said Terpstra.
"My mom donated a whole bag,” said Rosendale, “and all of them were mine.”