KAPAA — A footwear store will be donating more than 250 rubber boots to help with flood-recovery efforts.
Lace It Up Kauai recently donated all its rubber boots in stock to be delivered to North Shore residents. The store, which opened in June, donated 10 pairs of adult boots and another 25 kids boots after hearing reports from Wilcox Hospital of staph infections.
“Being born and raised here, it just breaks my heart,” said owner Sheleah Masi. “We decided to order 250 boots and have them rush it here so we can get these out to the people.”
The footwear store has ordered the additional rubber boots — each with an average retail value of about $25 — to donate to in less than a week, with its next shipment scheduled to arrive Thursday.
“Most gets divvied up to the North Shore area, but we are still going to drop a few off to Keapana and Anahola,” Masi said.
The American Red Cross on Kauai reported that the rubber boot shortage on the island is so severe that one of its volunteers gave the boots on her feet to a resident in need.
Masi said they will be breaking into three groups and going door-to-door to give away the rubber boots. They want to make sure the footwear gets to the right people.
“Although dropping it off to a nonprofit organization would give us a nice tax write-off, that’s not what the goal is. The goal is to get this to people in need,” Masi said. “We are literally going to go through the neighborhoods, and if we see someone who is barefoot or in rubber slippers or a drenched shoe, we’re just literally going to pull over and say, ‘Hey uncle. What size your feet? I got a rubber boot for you.’”
The business kept brainstorming to find how else they could help and decided to donate a pair of boots with each purchase of any footwear until the end of April.
“I still couldn’t sleep, I felt like this is not enough,” Masi said.
The store is also providing papers and boxes so donors can write a note after their purchase that will go with the boots to their new owner.
Since the drive began, Masi has had others reach out. A group of Milwaukee businesses created a Rubber Boat Disaster Relief Drive for Kauai to collect new and gently used boots for delivery to the Kapaa store.
“We are working on securing and shipping another few hundred boots. We’ve secured 1,000 boots, but we’re having difficulty with cost of shipping,” Masi said. “This is a boot drive, and although we may be reaching out separately, we’re working together to make sure it gets here.”