The start of the new year is always a time when we reflect on how we can make a difference in the world, improve our lives in a selfless, yet rewarding, manner and, of course, make those stroke-of-midnight unrealistic and idyllic resolutions we often can't keep.
I don't typically partake in the aforementioned New Year's traditions, but I did find myself compelled to look for ways to make 2013 the year of celebrating those small gestures in life that leave you with a smile on even the gloomiest of days.
Lucky for me, I really didn't have to look much further than our own backyard. Winnipeg shoe mavens Pam Grynol and Voula Sarlas at Soul Shoes and Accessories have launched an ambitious fundraising campaign to collect 10,000 pairs of gently worn winter shoes and boots to donate to the United Way of Winnipeg.
"It's quite sad seeing people outside without proper footwear, especially during our winters, where we have these extreme temperatures that last a long time," says Grynol, adding that she owes her success to the generous support of Winnipeggers, and the campaign is a fitting way to pay it forward.
This year marks the sixth time that Soul Shoes and Accessories has held the Shoe Your Spirit campaign. While they recognize the 10,000 goal may be ambitious -- it's nearly double what they collected last year -- they are confident Winnipeggers will tap into their inner philanthropist.
"We are challenging ourselves and everyone in the city to reach this goal," Grynol says. "We can use all the help we can get. There are just so many people out there looking for warm winter wear and is such a great way for us to give back."
So here's the deal: the shoe drive extends throughout the month and what they're looking for is your lightly worn winter footwear -- nothing tatty or hole-ridden -- in all sizes for men, women and kids of all ages. Got some boots you've never worn? Even better -- just bring them by the boutique and they will be packed up and sent to the United Way for those in need.
For more information about Shoe Your Spirit, you can check out the following websites -- www.soulshoes.ca, www.shoeyourspirit.com, www.10000pairs.com -- or pop by the boutique located at 167 Lilac St.
Got a suggestion for a future column or a fashion trend worth following? Email Connie Tamoto at email@example.com.