SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Ralph Rotella is collecting shoes for his annual shoe drive at his store, “Discount Shoe Repair” in Downtown Syracuse, now through December 13.

This year, Ralph is hoping to collect over 25,000 pairs of shoes. Anyone in the community is invited to donate their shoes on Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. at his store on 114 E Washington St, the intersections of Washington St. and Bank Alley. 

The annual Rescue Mission shoe drive pick-up will take place on Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 a.m.

Rotella has been collecting shoes for the Syracuse Rescue Mission to help the homeless since 2010, Over the years he has donated thousands of shoes every Holiday season to those in need in the Syracuse Community.

Rotella was inspired to start this yearly Holiday effort when he saw a homeless man outside his shop with his toes showing through his shoes. In 2021, he collected an incredible 37,350 pairs of shoes.

Rotella opened “Discount Shoe Repair” in 1975 after emigrating to Syracuse from Italy in 1970. After moving to Syracuse, Rotella learned everything from his uncle in his shoe repair store with Rotella’s father before opening his own later in the University Building in Downtown.

Though his store has moved within the building many times, it remains in the University Building now on the ground level.

Not only does Ralph do a shoe drive in Syracuse but Oswego as well to benefit the Syracuse Rescue Mission.

Since 2014, Mudd Murphy and Ralph Rotella have hosted “Tithe My Shoes” shoe drive at Oswego City Hall where they collected, repaired and redistributed more than 20,000 pairs of shoes in Oswego.

This year’s “Tithe My Shoes” shoe drive is open now through December 9 at the Oswego City Hall drop off location.

In both shoe drives, the public can consider donating new or gently used shoes that can be repaired and redistributed to the Rescue Mission in Syracuse for those in need.

This year, Rotella was recognized as the “Gael of The Year” from the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade Committee for demonstrating incredible dedication to the Syracuse community.