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Teenagers Start Shoe Drive On UWS To Help The Homeless

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They're taking the next step to help others take some steps of their own.

Sneakers were given out in our area Sunday by teens who were inspired by a viral video, CBS2's Christina Fan reported.

On a chilly October morning, hearts were warm in front of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew on the Upper West Side. The students who were handing out shoes to the homeless were just as emotional as the men receiving them.

"It feels great. It makes me feel like I'm a new man," homeless man Roderick Stevens said.

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High school senior Ross Brodsky said he and his friend Alex Goldenberg founded the group "Sole Purpose" after watching a viral video last year of a jogger in the Financial District take off his own shoes for a homeless man and walk away barefoot. The two were so touched they started their own shoe drive.

"It kind of sparked my mind. I have a lot of shoes in the back of my closet that I don't use. Some of my friends have that same problem," Brodsky said.

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To date, the two teens have donated mote than 1,000 pairs of sneakers and 6,000 pairs of socks. Sunday's packages also included food and hygiene kits.

"I think I knew it was going to have a small impact, but I think when you get to see it face to face and you see how big their smiles are it's one of the most amazing feelings," Brodsky said.


That giving spirit inspired others who live on the street. They went home and returned with donations of their own.

"I would say I bought about 40 pairs. I had four gigantic shopping bags filled," a woman named Carol said. "It's a great need and I'm just glad I could contribute."

The movement is warming the city's most vulnerable population, starting from their soles.

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