NORTH LOGAN – Bragging rights are on the line between the Aggies, Utes and Cougars, but this time it won’t be settled on a court or field. The <a href=”https://www.shipshoes4refugees.com/” target=”_blank”>ShipShoes4Refugees project</a> has challenged fans, athletes and coaches of the three Utah universities to see who can raise the most money to help refugees.
How? It’s called a Shoe Showdown. Coaches, current athletes and former athletes from Utah State University, the University of Utah and Brigham Young University are invited to donate autographed pairs of shoes that will be auctioned online for a week, starting Oct. 4.
ShipShoes4Refugees was organized by Green Canyon High School junior Chandler Schramm. The 16-year-old has been active on social media, contacting celebrities and athletes and asking them to sign and ship a pair of shoes she can use to auction on eBay. The money raised is donated to Catholic Community Services in Salt Lake City to help refugee youth.
“The money goes to them to fund field trips,” she said, “to get them tutoring and to learn the language. If they don’t know the language they can’t get jobs.”
She’s been successful in her efforts so far. She’s received shoes from movie star Ben Stiller, NBA All-Star Dwayne Wade, NFL quarterback Alex Smith and almost the entire Real Salt Lake soccer team. Actress Lindsay Lohan has promised to ship a pair of shoes, Schramm said.
“I honestly wasn’t thinking it would go so big,” she said. “ESPN has contacted me, and the New York Times. I think that is incredible. I’m so fortunate to be able to do this for these people.”
Schramm said she has contacted officials from all three universities, and that she is expecting signed shoes to come in for the auction on Oct. 4. So far, she has received a pair of shoes from Utah State head football coach Matt Wells, former University of Utah quarterback Alex Smith, BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe and BYU alumnus Andy Reid, who is now coaching the Kansas City Chiefs.
“All of the coaches have signed shoes,” Schramm said. “They are getting their alumni and they are getting their present players to sign and ship some shoes to me. I’ve called all the coaches, they are all in.”
Schramm got the idea for the project after listening to a talk that was part of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The lady giving the talk said, ‘What if their story was your story? What if you were in their shoes?’ That just really struck me hard because we are so fortunate here,” Schramm said. “I wanted to help people that are less fortunate.”
More than $1,200 has been raised in the first two auctions and the project is building momentum. Schramm is planning on holding an auction every two months.