This Retiring Storekeeper Gives his Inventory to the Salvation Army

All about how a generous Canadian shoemaker put himself in the shoes of people in need.

Giving shoes to the community

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At the age of 91, and after a lifetime dedicated to finding his customers shoes with the best fit, store owner Mohammad Shafi, known to everyone as “Mo”, decided it was time to retire.

Faced with the question of what to do with his remaining quality inventory, and determined to give back to his community, he decided to donate it all to the Mt. Arrowsmith Salvation Army. 

Mr. Shafi was born in Pakistan in 1929, and learnt the trade of making shoes at an early age, details. He lived in England before moving to Toronto, Canada in the 1960s. But in 2005, he and his wife decided to move again to be closer to their family. This time the destination was Parksville, Vancouver Island. It is in this city that he opened his first store.

Mr. Shafi's idea of donating his shoes to the renowned charitable organization came long before he even decided to retire. In fact, it was a promise he made to one of his regular customers and close friend, Major Norm Hamelin, Corps Officer of the Mt. Arrowsmith Salvation Army.

“We are deeply honored for this gift of specialty shoes, normally priced expensively, [which] will be available at reasonable prices for our community”, said Bonnie Brown, Salvation Army business manager to “The donation of Mo’s stock will help contribute to raising essential funds to support our local soup kitchen and food bank, which continue to feed and support the more than 2,000 people relying on Salvation Army services each month in our community.”

The Salvation Army, working in 132 countries, is a Christian organization founded back in 1865. Today, it partners with both private and public philanthropists to bring comfort to low income people of all faiths. One of its key goals is the relief of poverty through charitable actions that are beneficial to the community. 

Anyone can donate goods which are then sold at the organization’s worldwide thrift stores. The proceeds collected are then used to fund their Adult Rehabilitation Centers, assisting those struggling with addiction by giving them hope and support. 

So for anyone that would like to donate items, it might be helpful to know that all types of items are gratefully received. Furniture, cars, and household goods and appliances are just some of the used items that they welcome, as their thrift stores website details.

Mr. Shafi’s initiative is just one example of how we can all contribute to our local communities. Whether as current or former businessmen or as individuals, there is no better way to give a helping hand to those who need it most, than to put ourselves in their shoes.
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