It’s rare to find individuals who place the needs of other before their own. It’s even more rare when those individuals are high school and college students. Siblings Kayla and Justin Tinucci are founders of a foundation known as The Shoe Crew, a foundation that has benefited the lives of thousands of children that are considered to be less fortunate.
Before The Shoe Crew became The Shoe Crew, they began as a modest organization that made their impact just once a year, donating formal wear to high school students during prom season. The formal would include items anywhere from dresses, and high heel shoes for females, and suits, ties, bow ties, shirts, vests, and dress shoes from males. But the group soon found that with their contribution, they can easily make an even stronger impact, not only locally, but nationally.
“We kind of thought- that’s just once year where we can help those in need. So we wanted to find a way to help year round.” said co-founder Justin Tinucci.
Eventually, The shoe Crew rapidly developed into a national organization, collecting more than 2,400 pairs of shoes in a year, thanks in part to sponsors that allowed the foundation to hold multiple events.
“The support we have been getting is incredible. Not just from sponsors, but from our peers. Everyone is constantly willing to help. Even those outside the foundation are trying to find anyway to help us grow and change more lives.”
Even those who have shoes often deal with shoes that are the wrong size that hurt their feet. That’s where The Shoe Crew comes in. They allow kids of all ages to attend their events, and trade in their shoes for shoes that fit them properly. With the help of so many in support of the foundation, there’s never any shortage of shoes to go around to those in need.
“During our second summer, our garage was jam packed with shoes. It was a mess. and it’s not any better now, we just happen to have more storage space.”
With his sister Kayla now enrolled in the Air Force Academy, Justin has no plans to slow down the continued growth of The Shoe Crew, as they look to find sponsors that will help them expand into an international organization, and play a role in youth sports.
“You watch the World Cup, and you constantly hear stories about these athletes that once played soccer barefoot in the dirt, and you realize that there are still kids that have to deal with it. So what can be done? Well, we feel like we can play a huge hand in stopping kids from having to play sports barefoot ever again.”