Rikki Mendias knows what it’s like to be homeless without something as simple as a decent pair of shoes.
So now he collects shoes to donate to other people who don’t have them, or might need a new pair.
The effect shoes have had on Mendia’s life started when he was a child and owned no shoes, but one day, a nice woman saw him and bought him two pairs.
Mendias remembered the time the woman gave him his new shoes, and it’s something he will never forget.
“What I remember most about getting those pairs was the smell and then the confidence that came with it,” Mendias said.
As an adult and no longer homeless, he is also a successful photographer who loves to photographs shoes. However, hes says that wasn’t enough, so he decided to start giving them away.
He started an organization called HavASole which popular brands such as Nike are supporting. His organization provides quality footwear to homeless and at risk youth.
Mendias admits that seeing the joy in people’s faces is amazing.
“You see the joy of the people. It’s instant and it’s amazing. Something you can’t purchase. Something you can’t really explain,” Mendias said.
Mendias wants to get more teams involved in his cause and organization. He would like to collaborate with the Lakers and the Clippers to continue giving out shoes.
All of the donated shoes are organized by size and value and stored in bins. They are just waiting to be fitted to someone somewhere in need.