ShoesForWaterNearly 750 million people lack access to safe drinking water, according to a 2014 study released by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

That’s more than 1 out of every 10 people who inhabit this earth.

“Of these, almost a quarter (173 million) rely on untreated surface water,” the study says, “and over 90% live in rural areas.”

That’s why, for the fourth consecutive year, St. Ann’s WATCH program, in partnership with The Iona Group and Float, are co-sponsoring a shoe drive from August 1-31 throughout central Illinois.

“The Peoria area community has been absolutely terrific for the past three years that we have been running this shoe collection drive. Once again, I ask individuals and organizations to help. We need your help collecting shoes and watching potential landfill turn into something very positive for those who are most in need,” said Reverend Terry Cassidy, Pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church.

All new and used shoes collected – flip-flops, sandals, tennis shoes, clogs, dress shoes, garden shoes, etc. – will be donated to WaterStep with several purposes in mind. The shoes are sold in large quantities to an exporter and the money raised is used by WaterStep to fund water treatment systems in third world countries. Of those donated shoes, usable shoes will be sold by local merchants in poorer regions of the world. The funds raised will help these merchants provide a sustainable living for their families. Additionally, recipients of these shoes will be protected from abrasions, parasites and mites. Finally, by donating shoes, hundreds of tons of landfill waste will be eliminated.

WaterStep ( is a nonprofit organization focused on providing safe and reliable drinking water all over the world. This nonprofit organization’s mission is to help many of the world’s problems by providing access to clean water. By providing their own water treatment systems, offering health and hygiene education, and training people going into areas with unclean water, WaterStep provides more people with access to clean water and sanitation.

Since 2012, with the support of the local community, nearly 50,000 pairs of shoes have been donated to this worthwhile endeavor, resulting in safe drinking water for thousands of people worldwide.

For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit Shoes for Water

For more information, call Denise Henderson at 309-263-4662 or email