Scout hosts Soles4Souls

Shoe drive for those in need

By Elsie Lynn
The Colchester Sun
Colchester resident Connor Zwonik, member of Troop 658 based out of St. Francis Xavier in Winooski, poses at Severance Corners with one of the boxes he is using to collect shoes. He plans to donate 400-500 shoes to Souls4Souls.  PHOTO | ELSIE LYNN

Colchester resident Connor Zwonik, member of Troop 658 based out of St. Francis Xavier in Winooski, poses at Severance Corners with one of the boxes he is using to collect shoes. He plans to donate 400-500 shoes to Souls4Souls.
PHOTO | ELSIE LYNN

Connor Zwonik is a Life Scout with Troop 658 based out of St. Francis Xavier in Winooski and is working toward the rank of Eagle Scout. All Eagle Scouts must complete a community project.

Zwonik is collecting shoes.

“I am running a shoe drive to benefit a non-profit organization called Soles4Souls,” Zwonik explains in a written handout.

Why shoes? The Colchester High School sophomore explained that it is partly for the benefit of our local environment and partly to help those around the world in need of footwear.

“Many schools require [students] to wear shoes as part of their uniform; I want to help children be able to attend school and receive an education. Also, this shoe collection will help here in our own community as it will keep these shoes out of our landfills.”

Zwonik is an avid recycler and composter. He is also passionate about math and is a member of the CHS math league. In addition, Zwonik plays percussion with the Vermont Youth Orchestra.

The non-profit Soles4Souls is the program that Zwonik has partnered with for his shoe drive. While the company is based in Nashville, Tenn., there are 120 hubs nationally where shoes are collected and shipped out based on need. Zwonik’s collections will be sent to a hub in New Jersey.

“I plan on collecting 400-500 pairs of shoes,” said Zwonik in an interview Friday, noting that collection boxes are out and ready for donations. “I’m going to keep going until I reach my goal.”

Boxes can be found at Colchester Middle School, Malletts Bay School, Union Memorial School, Porters Point School, Holy Cross Church in Colchester, Our Lady of Grace Church in Colchester, St. Francis Xavier School and Church in Winooski, Finest Image Photography in Essex, and Burnham Memorial Library in Colchester.

Zwonik is asking for “gently worn” or new shoes. All styles and sizes are welcome.

After the collection is complete, Zwonik will enlist the help of fellow Scouts to fundraise by selling Snowflake Chocolate’s fudge to cover the cost of shipping all the shoes to New Jersey. Zwonik estimates it will cost $1 per pair of shoes.

“I feel more like I’m a role model leader,” said the 15-year-old. “I’m quieter and not super out there… I’m more of a do it myself person, so this leadership delegation component is new for me… It’s been fun and challenging.”

Above it all, Zwonik expressed his thanks for the support of the community members, businesses and his fellow scouts.