Helping ‘Soles’: Shoe repairman hopes to break record for shoes donated to people in need

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Discount Shoe Repair has been part of Syracuse since 1975. Owner Ralph Rotella juggles many tasks at once. In between taking care of customers, he takes in donations.

“This community in Syracuse is terrific,” Rotella explains, “You say something, just to say the word and they come over.”

For the last 10 years, Rotella has been collecting shoes, repairing them and then donating them to the Rescue Mission to give people in need. It all started with a chance encounter.

“It was a real snowy day in February. You know it gets cold, you get a lot of snow,” Rotella recalled. “I saw this guy walking right out front of the door with torn out shoes. I called him, I said, ‘Come in sir, come inside.'”

He gave him a pair of shoes, and has not stopped giving since.

“The first year we got about 35 pairs. The following one got 65 pairs. The following one a thousand and a thousand and thousand. Now it’s amazing. Last year we collected over 20,000.”

He hopes to top that this year. Already at 19,000 pairs, with donations still coming, he’s so close.

“Thanks, for all the people that donated shoes, we really, really appreciate it,” Rotella said with a big smile.

With a grateful heart, Rotella gets back to work because he takes the job of helping souls seriously.

If you’d like to donate shoes, you can drop them off to Discount Shoe Repair.

It’s located at 114 East Washington Street in Syracuse. It is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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