The Sole Sisters Iniya Ilankovan and Gracie Williams collected 418 pairs of shoes from generous donors in Rockton and Roscoe. The team decided to donate shoes to help others who may not have any, and to help local families as their National Jr. Honor Society project at Stephen Mack Middle School.

By Marianne Mueller


Stephen Mack Middle School eighth grade students; and members of the National Jr. Honor Society Iniya Ilankovan and Gracie Williams teamed up to help area families in need. The girls; who called themselves “Sole Sisters,” asked local communities to donate new or gently used shoes; any size or color for those who might have no shoes to wear.

They developed and distributed flyers complete with information on the project.  Generous donations came from areas covering neighborhoods in Roscoe and Rockton resulting in a collection of 418 pairs of shoes being picked up from these locations and delivered to different organizations. After picking up the shoes the Sole Sisters spent time sorting in late March with final delivery dates in early April.

Shoes were given to Acts of Kindness in Janesville, Wis. Overflowing Cup in Beloit, Wis., The Rockford Rescue Mission, Carpenters Place, and Soles4Soles.

As members of NJHS it is required that each volunteers 25 hours per year to remain active in the society. Due to COVID restrictions they members were required to do one larger project to replace the 25 hours. Ilankovan and Williams project took around seven of those hours.

“Even donating just one pair of shoes could make a huge impact in someone’s life,” the Sole Sisters said. “We know that 2020 was a difficult year for many people, and we want to help them by contributing to their everyday necessities. They add, “Every donation is greatly appreciated.”

“I am glad that I was able to help people in our community, it was a real eye opener on what else needs to be done, and I hope to be able to do more in the future,” Ilankovan said.

“Donating shoes made me realize how many people have shoes sitting around that could be so valuable to others,” Williams said. “I loved getting to help people who need them, with no cost involved,”

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