FAQs

What is Shoeman Water Projects?
Who is the Shoeman?

Where do the shoes come from?
How do shoes turn into water?
Where do the shoes go?
What types of shoes do you accept?
Do you accept half pairs?
Why isn’t there a drop off location close to me?
How do I become a drop off location?

What is Shoeman Water Projects?

Kenya Water Well

A Kenyan village enjoys the bounty of their new water well provided by the Shoeman Water Projects

Shoeman Water Projects (SWP) is a work of Eagle Wings Ministries, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, working to alleviate as much human suffering as possible and in the process, maximize fun. SWP collects donated used and new shoes from schools, scouts, churches and businesses. Schools often need service projects and SWP is a perfect green fit. Churches need youth character-building projects, and again, SWP fits. Businesses become drop off locations. The business can be placed on our zip code list and potential customers find their business while dropping off shoes. Other businesses do in-house shoe drives. We deliver containers and do the pick-up.

Once collected, the Shoeman exports the shoes to roadside shoe vendors in Kenya, South America and Haiti. The resale of shoes provides a job for the street vendor.

The vendor makes shoes available to people who do not have shoes and who cannot afford new shoes. At this point, you might say the shoes are rejuvenated as people jump and run. People who do not have shoes suffer from mites, parasites, and worms that enter the body through their feet. The results are a sickly life. The Shoeman was at a Kenya orphanage when they did the annual de-worming. After receiving a shot, worms and parasites could be seen coming from the eyes, ears, and noses of children. Shoes are a valuable gift.

Funds generated from the export of shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair, bringing clean drinking water to those who thirst. How long should a person have to wait for a drink of water?

Since 1998, George “the Shoeman” has visited Kenya repeatedly. Mission trips have delivered 30,000 pairs of shoes to orphanages and refugees, medical supplies for clinics and dental labs for orphanages. A team of neurosurgeons from Washington University School of Medicine performed pediatric facial reconstructions.

In August of 2008 George began Shoeman Water Projects to focus specifically on clean drinking water. In his decade prior travel to Kenya he had discerned that without clean water, all other aid would be a momentary stopgap.

From August of 2008 through July 2012 Shoeman Water Projects has kept 2 million pairs of shoes out of the landfill, and put them on people’s feet.  The Sole Power of donated shoes collected by George and his team has, thus far, resulted in the purchase of 4 water-well drilling rigs; three rigs were donated to “Water for Kenya” and the forth started The Shoeman Drilling Company.  With the help of “Water for Kenya,” an estimated 200,000 people have clean drinking water.

When wells cannot be drilled, water purification systems are used to clean surface polluted water.

George and Water Purification System

George explains how the water purification system works.

Starting in 2012, Shoeman Water Projects now offers water purification training with health and hygiene classes. Any person or organization working on a project might ask, “Do they need drinking water?” Shoeman Water Training partners with organizations going on mission trips to provide water purification with health and hygiene training. Purification systems can be purchased and sent to new areas, providing life-saving water.

Who is the Shoeman?

George, the Shoeman, Hutchings

George, the Shoeman, Hutchings on a water mission trip to Kenya.

George P. Hutchings, 64, of Ballwin, Missouri aka “The Shoeman” is an adventurer, visionary and one heck of a funny guy.  In 1994 George founded Eagle Wings Ministries a 501 (c) 3 charity dedicated to humanitarian and educational opportunities.

As sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, George was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam. Put in a body cast and evacuated in a rope litter on a C-130 transport plane, George’s plane stopped to refuel in Alaska. During the stop a nurse covered the immobile soldier with a blanket. After the horrors of combat, George was struck with gratitude for this small gesture. It was at that moment his world view began to change.

After graduating with a Masters from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary of Fort Worth, Texas in 1980, George officially began a series of humanitarian services.  His efforts are now best expressed through Shoeman Water Projects.

John Kihumba

John Kihumba inspired George to even greater humanitarian accomplishments.

John Kihumba inspired George to accomplish even greater humanitarian successes.

John Kihumba, a Missouri Baptist University student befriended George in 1997. Through their friendship, George helped John through many issues, from helping with tuition to facilitating the safe arrival of Kihumba’s son from Kenya. As their friendship developed so grew George’s understanding of the challenges facing the people of East African.  George recognized a large number of ministries and churches were addressing the needs of the disadvantaged in the United States, and decided to turn his attentions to Kenya. He began traveling to Kenya in 1998 facilitating humanitarian aid projects including meal programs, medical supplies, and clean water projects.

Sadly in 2007 John was killed while running for political office in Kenya with the hopes of serving and bettering his country. Shortly after, George heard his call to be The Shoeman turning shoes into water and answered the call by forming Shoeman Water Projects in 2008.

Since 1998, George has visited Kenya repeatedly, shipping a sizable quantity of supplies including 21,000 meals for orphans, $2 million in medical supplies, dental labs, neurosurgeons for pediatric facial reconstructions.

In August of 2008 George began Shoeman Water Projects to specifically focus on clean drinking water. In his decade prior travel to Kenya he had discerned that without clean water, all other aid would be a momentary stop-gap.

From August of 2008 through June of 2011 Shoeman Water Projects has collected over 1.5 million pairs of shoes that have become affordable shoes for those in need of projection from abrasions and deadly parasites as well as clean drinking water. The Sole Power of donated shoes collected by George and his team at Shoeman Water Projects has, thus far, resulted in the purchase of 4 water-well drilling rigs, more than 250 wells drilled serving more than 200,000 people, as well as water purification system installations and well pump repairs serving clinics, schools and villages across the globe.

Combat Survival

Learn more about George’s life and thirst for clean water in his book Combat Survival-Life Stories from a Purple Heart.

Where do the shoes come from?

Shoeman Water Projects works with business, churches, civic organizations, schools, and scouting groups collecting used and new shoes through shoe drives and shoe drop-off locations year round. Shoes also come from several brand name shoe manufacturers.  E-mail info@shoemanwater.org to request a shoe drive kit and get started today!

How do shoes turn into water?

Shoeman Water Projects turns shoes into water in six simple steps.

1. Gather the shoes you no longer wear.
2. Pair the shoes and tie the laces together or put a rubber band around them.
3. Use the zip code finder to locate the nearest drop-off location.
4. The Shoeman picks up shoes from drop-off locations and organizations that host shoe drives.
5. The shoes are rejuvenated when the Shoeman exports the donated shoes to road side vendors in Kenya, Haiti and South America.  The road side vendor has a job.  For pennies on the dollar, people who do not have shoes and cannot afford shoes are now providers not beggars.
6. Funds generated from the export of shoes provides well drilling rigs, water purification systems, and hand pump repair micro businesses, bringing clean, fresh water to those who thirst.

Fill out this form to request a shoe drive kit, print a donation tax receipt for your records, and get started today!

Where do the shoes go?

Shoeman Water Projects exports shoes to distributors in Kenya, Haiti, and South America. Shoe resale builds the local developing economy with retail businesses and affordable shoes for pennies on the dollar. Affordable shoes are a life saving tool as they protect the new owner’s feet and overall health from foot abrasions, parasites and mites.

What types of shoes do you accept?

Shoeman Water Projects accepts all types of shoes: athletic, running, dress, sandals, pumps, heels, work boots, cleats, dance, flip flops.  As long as they do not have holes in them, we accept them!

Do you accept half pairs?

At this time, we do not accept half pairs.

Why isn’t there a drop off location close to me?

Businesses sign up voluntarily to become drop off locations.  We update our list of drop off locations daily, so check back often to see if any have been added close to you.

If there is not a drop off location close to you, consider asking local businesses that you visit if they can consider becoming a drop off site.  It is a great way to get more foot traffic into a business!

If you have no luck, consider collecting and storing shoes on your own.  If you can do this,  contact info@shoemanwater.org to see what arrangements can be made to pick up your shoes.

How do I become a drop off location?

Becoming a drop off location is easy, and it will provide you with additional foot traffic at your location.  Contact info@shoemanwater.org.  We will add you to our site and provide you with signage and a storage container.