CHARACTER COUNTS

Mercury continue Brittney Griner’s shoe drive, collect record number

Sep 3, 2022, 7:55 PM

(Screenshot from video courtesy Phoenix Mercury)...

(Screenshot from video courtesy Phoenix Mercury)

(Screenshot from video courtesy Phoenix Mercury)

The Phoenix Mercury collected a record number of more than 3,200 pairs of shoes in the fifth year of BG’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive, the team said in a release this week.

The initiative began in 2016 after center Brittney Griner saw homeless people in the Phoenix summer without shoes on. She started driving around with boxes of shoes in the trunk of her car in case she found someone in need of a pair.

This spurred the founding of a shoe drive by the Mercury, who have since partnered with the Phoenix Rescue Mission. This year, they raised $27,000 for the program.

The Mercury continued with this drive despite Griner’s absence and collected more shoes than the first four years of the drive combined.

In addition to delivering shoes, the Mercury and Rescue Mission joined forces for three distribution events.

In the local events, the Mercury also gave out hygiene kits, water and other resources to people in need across the Phoenix area. Among those distributing these goods to people were Mercury players, coaches and other staff, as well as fans.

BG’s Heart & Sole Shoe Drive received the support of other WNBA’s teams this year in honor of Griner, who remains in a Russian prison after being charged for possession of cannabis oils, which is illegal in the country.

 

Ten other WNBA markets involved helped raised money for the following programs: Covenant House LA, the Julian Center, Mary’s Place, New London Homeless Hospitality Center, the Promise House, Shade Tree Shelter, Sharing Shoes, Soles4Souls, the Sports Shed, the Wheeler Mission Center for Women and Children and Concord Neighborhood Center and YouthLink.

Since debuting with the Mercury in 2013, Griner has been recognized for her efforts in the community.

She was the “Hope Coach” for the Phoenix Rescue Mission, delivering goods directly to people in need. Her work in the community led to her winning the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award in 2017.

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