Giving back is always worth the extra step—or the extra shoe. But in 2020, the pandemic changed how everything operated, including how people donate to and serve charitable organizations.
Shoes 4 the Shoeless (S4TS) was one of many organizations that had to grapple with finding new, safe ways to serve its local community. The non-profit provides disadvantaged kids in the Dayton, Ohio region with new, correctly fitting shoes and socks. While they could set up outside and require volunteers and participants to wear a mask, S4TS needed a way to measure feet, tie laces and care for kids safely in person.
That’s where flexible privacy solution provider Loftwall stepped up. The Texas-based company donated and modified the bottom of Split, a transparent room divider, to accommodate volunteers’ efforts to measure a child’s foot in a socially distanced way.
“Truly, Split is a byproduct of the pandemic. Loftwall has always been in the business of delivering privacy solutions, but when privacy and safety became inextricably linked, Split was one of many products that we launched in 2020,” said Andrew Holmes, director of marketing at Loftwall.
Split can act as either a stationary or mobile partition. This gives S4TS the flexibility to serve children in a way that feels approachable, yet safe, Holmes explained.[Related: This Desk’s Minimal Design is Big on Social and Environmental Impact]
“S4TS prides themselves on personally measuring every child’s foot,” he noted. “Most children that the organization serves have never owned a pair of properly fitting shoes. The intimate act of measuring a child’s foot tells them ‘You matter, and we care that we get this pair of shoes perfect for you.’”
Outfitted with a clear acrylic panel and modular aluminum frame, volunteers were able to safely interact with kids after a few minor adjustments to Split’s design. Loftwall created a large pass-through gap by elongating the vertical posts, sliding the acrylic panels upwards and reversing the base plates to face outwards.
Two custom Splits were then shipped in July 2020 and were instrumental in helping S4TS re-work its shoe fitting process. On the day of the pictured shoe drive, over 200 children were served, and the organization continues to use the Split units, enabling the nonprofit to serve over 20,000 kids in an average year.
“Loftwall has always enjoyed working with non-profits and disadvantaged schools,” Holmes stated. “This was one of several chances to give privacy to all who need it, not just the people who can afford it.”
Listen next: Protect Rivers by Specifying Smart