NewsPositively Hampton Roads


Virginia Beach mom collecting old shoes to raise money for Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network

Posted at 6:48 AM, Apr 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-24 16:24:52-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It can take 30 to 40 years for your old shoes to decompose if they end up in the landfill.

So, instead of throwing them away, a mom in Virginia Beach wants to take them off your hands.

Valery Hendrickson is collecting old shoes as part of a fundraiser for an organization close to her heart - the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network.


She's motivated by her son Greyson, who's almost six.

"He is a spitfire... I can't even explain to you. He makes me laugh every day," Hendrickson said.

But when she and other parents of children with Down syndrome need a little help, the DSDN gives them a place to turn, to ask questions and find support groups.

Related: Virginia Beach man with Down syndrome celebrates nine years with Kroger

"People who have older children have already been there, done that can kind of give you some ideas," Hendrickson said.

Here's how her fundraiser works: For every usable shoe she sends to a separate organization called GotSneakers, she earns a dollar for her charity.

"They actually take the shoes and re-purpose them. They give them to someone who can't afford shoes," Hendrickson said.

They're mainly looking for sneakers, but they'll accept any shoes except flip flops.

If the shoes can't be reused, they're still recycled into other products, like playgrounds.

Each bag that she sends in can hold about 17- 20 pairs of shoes. She's sent in 21 bags so far, with more being filled up every day.

Her friends and neighbors have rallied to support the cause. Now she's hoping others will reach into their closets to support her as well.

Hendrickson will be collecting shoes until June 30.  If you're interested in donating, you can email her at or drop them off at one of these locations:

  • Chesapeake
    • Chantel Ray Real Estate at 1044 Volvo Parkway #2 
  • Norfolk
    • 1328 Gabriel Drive (residence - porch drop off)
  • Virginia Beach
    • Chantel Ray Real Estate at 5308 Indian River Road
    • InfraMap at 1209 Baker Rd Suite 308 (place of business, not open on weekends)
    • 4136 Ware Neck Drive  (residence - porch drop off)
    • Spoon Dessert Cafe, 2129 General Booth Blvd #115

You can find out more about the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network or GotSneakers on their websites.