A Solana Beach woman is giving back to San Diego County’s homeless population by giving them proper shoes.
Adele Levy, in partnership with Anthony’s Shoe Repair, donates old pairs of shoes to the homeless men and women she meets each Sunday at Father Joe’s Villages in Downtown San Diego.
Her volunteer work at Father Joe’s began about four years ago through Congregation Beth Israel in La Jolla’s Hunger Project program, which provides food to the homeless people at Father Joe’s.
“It’s a wonderful experience,” said Levy, a retired teacher who became known by the homeless people as the greeter who gave them Hershey’s Kisses. “It’s sad to see the number of people living on the streets. When you look out the window at Father Joe’s, it’s just like, ‘Oh my gosh. Tent city in the streets.’”
About two years ago, Levy, who also donates clothes dropped off at the Rancho Coastal Humane Society, decided to visit the Anthony’s Shoe Repair location in Solana Beach to ask if they had any shoes they were going to throw away.
After Anthony Khattar, the owner of the store, gave her that first box of shoes, she brought it to Father Joe’s that Sunday. It has become a tradition ever since.
Khattar said it feels good to give back.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I'm with shoes all day long and people can take shoes for granted. When people bring in shoes, it makes you reflect on how needed shoes are for people who don't have them. I get a lot of self-gratification from it.”
Khattar, who formerly donated shoes to women’s and homeless shelters years ago, estimated more than 200 shoes have been donated since the partnership with Levy began.
Levy has become known by customers at Anthony’s Shoe Repair — which also has locations at Del Mar Highlands Town Center and Carmel Mountain — for the donations.
She described the shoes as “tired-looking” but “have a hell of a lot more wear than what the [homeless] people are walking around in.”
“I want to give them shoes that people can walk in and feel comfortable in,” she said.
Levy, who grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Solana Beach about 15 years ago, said it felt only natural to her to give back.
“I’ve had a very fortunate life,” she said. “I grew up in a family where you do nice things for everybody. I’ve got the time, I have the energy and it’s nice to see people smile.”
Those interested in donating shoes to Levy’s cause can visit any of the Anthony’s Shoe Repair locations listed at www.anthonyshoerepair.com