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Metro Detroit student collects 10,000 shoes to help those in need

Posted at 5:16 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 17:16:48-05

"Be a better person" tops the list for this year's New Year's Resolution. If you need some inspiration, look no further than a high school student in Novi.

Prateek Bhola collected more than 10,000 pairs of shoes for the needy.

He said, "Once you get people motivated about your cause, then you will be able to reach your goal in no time."

The 16-year-old collected more than 10,000 shoes for the organization Soles 4 Souls.

He runs cross-country and has to replace his sneakers often, even if they are in good shape.

"When you are a runner, you have to change your shoes every 300 to 400 miles. That already takes out a lot of shoes in a course of a year."

He took baby-steps, first donating his sneakers when he was freshman. That's when he decided to take on the challenge of collecting 10,000 pairs of shoes by his senior year.

He met that goal a year and half later.

"We went to all different religious organizations, got shoes from them, different businesses got shoes from them, talk to friends, family, neighbors."

Prateek filled the garage with al the donated shoes.

"For a while there was a mountain of shoes in our garage. Once it was too big for us to handle, we got a moving truck and we put it in there."

All types of shoes were collected, like ice skates, roller skates, anything that covers feet.

"We've even got a full leg boot for when you break your leg. That was pretty funny."

This gift keeps on giving.

"Since I collected 10,000 pairs of shoes, Soles for Souls was generous enough to to donate 100 pairs of new shoes with the Philip House Mission charity in Detroit."

Prateek says a lot of good can be done, even on a shoestring budget.

"More than the money, it's especially the time as well because I have to take the shoes, find the pair, pair them up, put them in bags."

If you want to follow in Prateek's footsteps, he said, "Find a cause that you are really passionate about. And the main thing is, you have to have that passion. You need to become motivated about it."

Prateek will be handing out 100 pairs of new shoes Saturday afternoon at:

  • The Mission Center
  • 12121 Gratiot Avenue
  • Detroit, MI
  • From 1pm to 4pm

The 100 pairs of shoes will be given out on a first-come, first served basis.

If you want to donate shoes, email: