Packard Proving Grounds holds shoe drive fundraiser for restoration projects

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby-Utica News | Published July 11, 2023

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The Packard Proving Grounds Historic Site launched a shoe drive fundraiser July 1 that will run through Sept. 16. 

The shoe drive fundraiser will help support restoration and maintenance projects that will improve the Packard Proving Grounds’ ability to host events, both public and private, and support restoration of the Albert Kahn-designed buildings with historical accuracy. Monies raised can also help expand the Packard Motor Car Co. exhibits so that the Packard legacy might inspire future generations.

The Packard Proving Grounds will earn funds based on the total weight of the pairs of gently worn, used and new shoes that it collects on behalf of Funds2Orgs, which says it is the nation’s largest shoe drive organization.

Anyone can help by donating gently worn, used and new shoes and dropping them off at the Packard Office at the Packard Proving Grounds, located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave. in Shelby Township, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Shelby Farmers Market, which takes place on the front lawn of the Packard Proving Grounds.

Mary Anne Demo, executive director of the Packard Proving Grounds, said organizers are excited about the shoe drive.

“We know that most people have extra shoes in their closets they would like to donate to us. By doing so, we raise money for our cause, and we have the chance to help families in developing nations who need economic opportunities. It’s a win-win for everyone,” Demo stated in a press release.

Funds2Orgs will distribute the shoes through its small business partner network. Funds2Orgs works with more than 4,000 micro-entrepreneurs to help them create, maintain and grow small businesses in 26 developing countries.

Proceeds from the sales of the shoes collected in shoe drive fundraisers help to feed, clothe and house micro-entrepreneurs’ families. One entrepreneur in Haiti reportedly earned enough to send her son to law school.

Marci Fitch, the volunteer manager at the Packard Proving Grounds, said they are truly excited to hold their first shoe drive fundraiser and partner with Funds2Orgs. 

“Whether you have one pair of shoes or a collection, we hope you can donate and contribute to this great cause. It’s a chance to not only help in the restoration of the Packard Proving Grounds, but those in need worldwide,” she said.