The critical need Cornhusker Bank helped fill in our community was to provide footwear to the People’s city Mission to give away to those who are in dire need of it in our local community. Their needs are both physical and psychological. The Mission serves a group of people whose main form of transportation is walking, making adequate footwear important to them medically. The psychological aspect of needing shoes was probably best exemplified by an adult man, who got to pick a pair of shoes on the distribution day and while thanking Cornhusker Bank representatives for making it possible, said, “This is the best pair of shoes I have ever had.” It is such an important element in children’s development as well. Wanting shoes that look decent and like what their peers at school are wearing is a big factor in their self-esteem.
The need for adequate footwear was filled through Cornhusker Bank’s One Day Without Shoes Event, which is a two week long event (supported by months of behind the scenes preparation) in which Bank staff works to organize businesses, organizations and schools in the community who are willing to collect new and used shoes at their locations along with Cornhusker Bank to be donated to the People’s City Mission. All of Lincoln is invited to make a walk of slightly over 1 mile down O Street one of Lincoln’s main streets at the heart of Lincoln, from the Bank’s headquarters to the People’s City Mission (PCM) to help raise awareness of the need for footwear in our community.
The One Day Without shoes Program (ODWS) was conceptualized by bank leadership with four major goals in mind: 1) Raise shoes to be donated to the PCM. 2) Provide a way that businesses, organizations and schools throughout Lincoln could work on a common project for the benefit of our city and be something that all citizens could contribute to, regardless of age. 3) Allow bank associates a cause to be unified around, and in which they could take leadership roles in, and 4) reduce waste from shoes that are unwearable in our landfills.
The bank began this yearly event in 2011 with the total donation of 4,400 pairs of shoes and approximately $8,000 in cash donations for the Mission. Through 2021 we have collected over 202,000 pairs of shoes and monetary donations totaling over $96,000. In 2020 we expanded the shoe collection to include our Omaha market with all shoe donations in Omaha going to Stephen Center. These figures don’t include the recent 2022 collection that just ended last week in Lincoln and Omaha’s collection which starts next week.
Bank staff unifies during this event, coming together to volunteer their own time to walk, serve as helpers to move shoes for donors, walk the walk for awareness, greeting people at the Bank the day of the walk and free lunch, and even volunteering to help sort shoes and prep them for distribution shopping at the mission post event. Each year the bank has added small innovations and improved marketing, organization of the event and PR to let the community know what they can do to be involved.
The ODWS event has engaged members of the community and the event is becoming a true city-wide event. Many businesses are now calling Cornhusker Bank to ask how they can be part of the April event. Businesses are following the bank’s lead and holding their own days during the two week period we collect to have a day their employees go without shoes to help raise awareness. Individuals and groups are joining the walk for awareness on the day we have chosen as the “ONE’ day we go without shoes. Individuals who bring shoes in for donation report they save shoes all year long to bring into the event. Many individuals watch for sales and buy new shoes to donate. An area high school organized a day where their students volunteered in masse to go to the People’s City Mission to help sort and prep donated shoes for distribution.
Cornhusker Bank positions itself in Lincoln, as “doing life together” with the community. This event is such a city-wide recognized event for the mission in its eight year, and exemplifies just one of the many ways we do life together, collectively banding together with fellow associates, both customers and non-customers, and organizations city-wide to help those in need. The bank has also benefitted from the camaraderie and collective goal it has provided our staff. It gives associates one more reason to be proud of the work they do and the benefits they are given in ways to better our community, believing that Together Everyone really does Achieve More. https://www.cornhuskerbank.com/Day-Without-Shoes.aspx