Real Estate Rivals Raise Shoes for Kids

By Lauren Hollon
Buckner International

The Austin and San Antonio branches of Transwestern real estate went head to head to help cover bare toes last month.

The two offices competed to see who could collect the most shoes to donate to Shoes for Orphan Souls.

Josh Delk, the associate vice president and project manager at the Austin branch, said it was the first time the company had held a charity drive.

“Everybody got behind it,” he said. “Everyone was happy to give, and it helped that it was a very simple idea: just collect shoes.”

Transwestern develops, leases and manages commercial real estate. It’s a competitive business, and that spirit of competition helped drive the branches to collect.

“We would take pictures and sort of start some banter via e-mail between the branches,” said Charlotte Blanchard, office manager at the Austin branch. “We sent pictures of large piles of shoes and cars filled with shoeboxes. We really tried to make it fun.”

The Austin branch of Transwestern sent teasing photos of their shoe drive progress to the San Antonio branch via e-mail.

Part of the fun was seeing the shoes add up, said Blanchard.

“Shoes are something tangible you can actually hold and it’s something that you can actually gather up. We were able to see the donations grow as they came through,” she said.

They put out collection boxes and fliers at their properties and sent e-mails to family, friends and tenants. The drive quickly gained momentum as the competition heated up, Delk said.

“People started calling on their relationships with vendors, clients and major companies in San Antonio and Austin and just telling them what we were doing. Of course, once people hear about a good cause, they’ll really step up,” he said.

The goal for the company was 500 pairs of shoes, but San Antonio “beat the pants off” Austin, Delk said.

Transwestern San Antonio didn't slack; they collected around 1,000 pairs of shoes.

San Antonio finished with about 1,000 pairs of shoes, along with another $3,000 in donations. Austin raised 500 pairs and $500. The two branches also collected 2,910 pairs of socks. The victorious office won a happy hour from Transwestern’s president.

The company is already looking forward to next year’s competition.

“It was really neat to see that the two offices having so much fun battling it out and seeing that enthusiasm run throughout their drive,” said Julia Stark, Shoes for Orphan Souls program manager. “They said it’s definitely going to be an annual thing.”

To learn more about hosting a shoe drive, click here. To sign up, go here.

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