KITCHENER -- For those getting some late spring cleaning in and finding shoes they want to donate – one girl would love to have them.

For almost two years, 12-year-old Maya Reiter Lee and her mother Deanna Reiter have been on a journey to collect 25 thousand pairs of shoes for Soles 4 Souls.

The charity gives shoes to those who need them all across the world.

“Initially we were just going to clean out our closets, maybe go to her school and collect shoes,” said Reiter. “Then Maya was like, ‘we gotta’ do this’, and how can I say no?

“It keeps her out of trouble, it’s an amazing thing to do, and I am so proud of her.”

Maya took inspiration from a television series called the Kindness Diaries, based on a former stock-broker who travels the world, relying on the generosity of strangers, while also giving them thousands of dollars back.

“I wanted to do a nice thing for the world,” she said. “I was getting really motivated.”

So far, they have already collected 16,000 pairs of shoes.

Reiter says that if Maya reaches her goal of 25,000 pairs, the charity will send them to the countries to help distribute the shoes.

“They just can't be like tattered and destroyed, so like gently used and new shoes,” said Maya. “We also take money donations.”

Typical drop-off locations like schools and businesses have been closed during the pandemic, which has prompted drive-in drop off spots like Whip Boxing Academy in Waterloo.

“It's actually been pretty busy considering the weather,” said owner Fitz Vanderpool. “The shoes have been coming in in bunches.”

Other drop-off locations include:

  • Crunch Fitness gyms in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Stratford
  • Waterloo Kung Fu Academy
  • Cambridge Memorial Hospital 
  • Guelph General Hospital 
  • Autoworx Auto Mechanic on Woolwich Street in Breslau
  • The Running Room on Fairway Road in Kitchener