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Confiscated counterfeit shoes given to needy

December 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Thousands of homeless people benefited today from a donation of 5,000 pairs of counterfeit designer shoes, seized by the police department.The shoes were seized by the LAPD's anti-piracy unit and would have been thrown away if it weren't for a new California law that allows confiscated counterfeit goods to be donated to the homeless.

"People who are experiencing homelessness really have a difficult time with their feet. They need socks and shoes regularly. Homelessness just devastates people's feet," said Andy Bales, CEO of Union Rescue Mission.

Bale described that many who frequent the Union Rescue Mission need wheelchairs or walkers because they don't have the resources to take care of their feet over the years.

"Volunteers come out here and we help put them together and we make sure that everybody gets a pair," said Irese Carpenter, a Union Rescue Mission guest.

"All of these shoes would have ended up in the dump, and now instead of being thrown in the dump, these 5,000 pairs of shoes are going to be shared with people who really need a pair of shoes," said Bales.

"It meets a need that the men and the women and the children have here. It's a blessing," said Anthony Sledge, a Union Rescue Mission guest.

"It's a blessing for me to get shoes, and I just thank god that there is a place like this that is here to help us when we are in need, homeless or not homeless, to have a place to come to that won't turn you down," said Cheryl Simpson, another Union Rescue Mission guest.

Of the 5,000 confiscated shoes, 1,800 were given out Tuesday. Bales puts the total value of the shoes given away at approximately $100,000.


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