The Maypearl Panther Band Booster Club is currently attempting to fundraise thousands of dollars for the middle school and high school bands. The only kicker is, they’re not asking for your money — they’re asking for shoes.

“The parents have really loved it because we’re not asking for money,” said Lara Price, Maypearl Panther Band Booster Club fundraising chair. “We are asking them to clean out their closet, something many of us were doing anyway.”

Currently, the booster club has drop-off bins for the gently used, worn, and new shoes at The Polka-Dotted Lizard, Maypearl Hay and Feed and at all Maypearl ISD schools.

For this fundraiser, the booster club is partnering with Funds2Orgs. Funds2Orgs is a company that works with various organizations to create shoe drives by providing website expertise, banners, and advice throughout the fundraiser. Once an organization has collected the shoes, Funds2Orgs pays the group around 40 cents per pound, according to Funds2Orgs personnel.

Chief Fundraising Strategist for Funds2Orgs Tom Henderson said after the company buys the shoes, they work with “micro-entrepreneurs” in developing nations to turn selected locals into shoe salespeople.

The Funds2Org website describes this process as, “allowing impoverished people to start and maintain their own businesses. These efforts might mean selling-repurposed shoes and clothing from a carpet on the sidewalk to a small retail shop.”

“They (the micro-entrepreneurs) receive training and inventory at no cost,” Henderson said. “Once they sell their inventory they pay to have it replenished.”

Henderson said that once these entrepreneurs replenish their stock, the average price they pay for the shoes varies from 20 cents to $3.50 a pair. With Funds2Orgs being a Limited Liability Company and not a non-profit, it can be hard to see how this business model works, but Henderson said they’re not in it for the money.

“We’re a social enterprise, so we don’t make a ton of money,” Henderson said. “We aren’t a get rich company. Margins are very low and tight, and often the cost of shipping, if we don’t estimate it right, can eat into our entire profit margin.”

Funds2Orgs asks that organizations pack 25 pairs of shoes per trash bag. Each student has a goal of collecting 75 pairs of shoes, or three bags, over the course of three months. Price hopes that the group can raise around $1,000 from the fundraiser, and said currently they have collected 55 bags of shoes – putting them on track to have more than 100 bags.

Maypearl High School band director Dallas Dees said they hope to repair some of the instruments they have and purchase a few new ones to accommodate the growing band.

“We’re growing pretty quickly and want to use the money to cover costs that the school can’t cover with its budget,” Dees said. “Right now, we need about $5,000 to cover us for this next year.”

The fundraiser began on Dec. 1 and ends on Feb. 15. To donate, take any gently used, worn, or new shoes to any of the drop off bins throughout the community.

“Band is extremely expensive, and we’re always looking for more sponsors who want to see arts stay,” Price said. “We have some really talented kids who go to state every year, and we just need to be able to reinvest in that talent.