Kim Dumore didn’t know how the effort to provide free shoes for those struggling would actually turn out on Friday.
But when the doors opened on the little space on 224th Street in downtown Maple Ridge, people were already lined up at 9 a.m.
It was the first pop-up Shoe Bank Canada event in Maple Ridge and held to provide free shoes for anyone, of any age, who needed them.
Shoe Bank Canada, through the Shoe Warehouse, along with local contributors, provided about 300 pairs of shoes to be given away and Dumore expected many of those to be gone by day’s end, with the balance to be shipped off to the Salvation Army Ridge Meadows Ministries.
The event preceded the main purpose for the opening of the former commercial space on at 11979 – 224th St.
Next week, on Nov. 22, for next three months, the shop will serve as the gallery for Humans of Maple Ridge, a photo exhibit that shows the stigma around homelessness and addiction in Maple Ridge.
Some photos were already displayed last April in the ACT. They’ll be displayed on the wall of the old shop while new photos will be hung on the other wall.
Humans of Maple Ridge will feature more than 60 photographs by more than 45 participants, from high school students to residents of Anita Place Tent City.
“The purpose behind the gallery is to increase compassion in the community,” said Dumore, coordinator with the Ridge Meadows overdose community action team.
Dumore was just elected to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board.
While Dumore was speaking, she asked a passerby if he wanted free shoes.
“What’s the catch?” he asked.
There’s no catch, it’s just to improve compassion in the community, she replied.
The shop had a steady stream of people dropping by to check out the footware. Richard, who didn’t want to give his last name, came in to get a pair of black dress shoes. He was about to start a job in a supermarket.
“I need black shoes for work,” he said.
He had been participating in the program called Carving a Bright Future that’s run by Alouette Addictions Services and funded by Vancity credit union. That program had also helped him with computer skills to help in the job hunt.