“Not another pair of runners!” is a phrase you will often hear me saying in my household! My husband Nigel is a keen runner and a member of the local Bendigo University Athletics Club and the Bendigo region’s team, called ‘The Bendigo Bats’. Running has great benefits, from being a part of a community, to keeping fit and healthy, but it also means he goes through roughly six pairs of running shoes a year!

My husband, like many athletes, tracks the kilometres he runs in each pair of shoes to know when it is time to change them over, this means that shoes are often in a good condition when he replaces them.

Earlier this year I was joking to my work colleague about my husband’s high shoe turnover and he remarked that if we collected my husband’s ‘old’ shoes we could give them to the homeless – as long as they wore the same size shoe! We laughed … and then realised we were onto something!

What if local athletes donated their good quality shoes to MinisTree Bendigo? Then we would have a range of sizes from men and women to give to the rough sleeping community.

The request was sent out to the Bendigo Bats and Gazelles (a women’s running group) on the last day of May 2022 and within two weeks MinisTree Bendigo had received 50 pairs of shoes ranging from adult size 6-13! Thank you to everyone who donated!

The timing couldn’t be more perfect. As we went into a very cold and wet winter, good shoes are essential. A few weeks ago, I was driving through the CBD on a cold day and I saw a woman with no shoes on and it broke my heart. It is my prayer that if we meet someone with no shoes or damaged shoes that we will be able to provide for them in this practical way.

Rev. Fiona Preston

MinisTree Bendigo Coordinator

*Please watch this space *

This is MinisTree Bendigo’s first winter on the street and it is unknown how many pairs of shoes we will need to provide. In 2023 we may ‘throw the net wider’, to ask the wider community for second-hand shoes.