Michelle Garr, founder of Slippers For Mom, looks at tubs of donated slippers Thursday, Dec. 2, in her home in Novi.

Michelle Garr, founder of Slippers For Mom, looks at tubs of donated slippers Thursday, Dec. 2, in her home in Novi.

Photo by Brian Wells

Novi woman carries on tradition by donating slippers

By: Brian Wells | Novi Note | Published December 9, 2021


NOVI — For years, Michelle Garr would buy her mother slippers as a Christmas gift. It started as a sort of gag gift, sometimes hidden in a large box or tucked away until all the other presents were open.

But after her mother passed away in 2013, she struggled with not being able to carry on the same tradition.

At the time, Garr worked in a hospital in Livonia. A friend suggested she buy and donate several pairs of slippers. That year, she donated 55 pairs of slippers to two different organizations.

Now in its ninth year, her organization, Slippers For Mom, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is on track to donate between 600 and 700 pairs of slippers to 13 different organizations.

“It really started as a way to help me grieve and then really to honor my mom and her memory and the tradition that we had,” Garr said. “But it’s really grown into giving back to the communities and just really helping people in need.”

Using money raised through fundraising and donations, Garr purchases the slippers. They are then donated to organizations such as homeless and women’s shelters around the state.

Garr focuses on donating slippers because it’s a niche thing, she said. Many shelters already get donations of things such as toys and socks, but not a lot of people donate slippers. While some shelters will get a bulk donation of slippers, she works with some to determine how many people are staying there and what their sizes are, then works to match them with a pair of slippers.

“I’m doing this to really fulfill that need that I have of, like, just remember all those memories, giving slippers to my mom on Christmas morning,” Garr said. “And now turning it into, look how many people were impacted by giving them a cozy pair of slippers.”

While Garr does accept donations year-round, she said the biggest giving season is November and December because slippers are easier to find in stores. She delivers the slippers in early December. Last year, she chose a women’s shelter and made a smaller donation around Mother’s Day, which she said she plans to continue this year.

Information on how to donate can be found on her website, www.slippersformom.org.

“(For) $10, you can buy a pair of slippers,” Garr said. “It’s just small acts of kindness that collectively as a whole can make a big impact.”

Contact Brian Wells at (586) 498-1081, (248) 291-7637 or bwells@candgnews.com.