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Students work together to collect shoes for the poor in India.

The Pomona College chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars has successfully collected more than 1,000 pairs of shoes for impoverished people in India. Shoes Over Sickness (SOS) has been the primary focus of the chapter all year, and it finally neared completion in late April when volunteers gathered on Pomona’s campus to ship the donated footwear.

Carried out in collaboration with other NSCS chapters, the project entailed collecting practice shoes (tennis, running, cross-training, etc.) to send to poor villages in India. Many Indians die every year from diseases contracted through inadequately protected feet, especially during the summer monsoon season when waterlogged streets can contain and conceal glass pieces, stone chips, slivers of wood and other sharp objects. These can seriously injure bare feet, leaving people vulnerable to infection and disease.

The Pomona College NSCS chapter was founded four years ago by the College’s Career Development Office (CDO). In addition to the SOS project, the organization also sponsors two or three service activities each semester, including outreach to local schools and events with Ability First, an organization assisting developmentally disabled children and adults.