Help “Soles”: a shoemaker hopes to beat the record for shoes given to people in need


SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) – Discount Shoe Repair has been with Syracuse since 1975. Owner Ralph Rotella juggles multiple tasks at once. Between looking after customers, he collects donations.

“This community in Syracuse is great,” says Rotella, “You say something, just to say the word and they come.”

For 10 years, Rotella has been collecting shoes, repairing them and then donating them to the Relief Mission to give to people in need. It all started with a chance encounter.

“It was a real snowy day in February. You know it’s cold, you have a lot of snow, ”Rotella remembers. “I saw this guy walking right in front of the door with his shoes ripped off. I called him, I said, ‘Come in sir, come in.’ “

He gave her a pair of shoes, and hasn’t stopped giving them since.

“The first year we had about 35 pairs. The next one got 65 pairs. The next one thousand and a thousand and a thousand. Now this is amazing. Last year we collected over 20,000.

He hopes to overcome that this year. Already at 19,000 pairs, with donations still to come, he’s so close.

“Thank you, to everyone who donated the shoes, we really, really appreciate it,” Rotella said with a big smile.

With a grateful heart, Rotella goes back to work as he takes the work of helping souls seriously.

If you would like to donate shoes, you can drop them off at Discount Shoe Repair.

It is located at 114 East Washington Street in Syracuse. It is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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