Shoe Drive to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking


Oakland residents are invited to recycle shoes and support local faith-based group – Reaching Our Young Ladies (ROYLS)

OAKLAND, CA (March 10, 2015) – USAgain, a local textile recycling company, has joined forces with Reaching Our Young Ladies (ROYLS), a faith-based group that provides responsive and preventative education about Human Trafficking and the Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children.

In an effort to raise funds for the group, while spreading awareness, the organization will co-host a shoe drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 28, at the front entrance of the Seventh Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, located at 1740 7th Ave, Oakland, CA 94606. Community members are requested to bring shoes in all shapes, sizes and conditions.

“Our partnership with ROYLS is particularly meaningful as it bridges both our missions,” said Tobin Costen, Division Manager, USAgain. “When we give a second life to unwanted clothing and shoes, we are not only helping the environment by diverting resources from landfills, we are also reducing our dependency on the manufacturing industry that relies on human resources and often forced or coerced labor.”

By the time you’ve read this sentence, another man, woman, or child will have become a victim of human trafficking. According to the United Nations, every 30 seconds another person falls victim to this global crime. With nearly 30 million annual victims of Human Trafficking, and hundreds of thousands in the United States, both organizations believe their combined efforts encourage civic responsibility.

“Creating a shift in the supply chain has a direct impact on people across the world who are trafficked into the textile and sex industry,” said Virginia Arnold and Jamar Kirton, Co-Founders of ROYLS, “On top of the fundraising support we’ll receive from the drive, as we mobilize locally, we’re appreciative of the opportunity to give the community a direct stake in making a supportive difference to our precious human resources.”

There are an estimated 14.2 million people trapped in forced labor to produce goods that are sold across the globe, according to the International Labor Organization. While it’s reported by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center that people trafficked into the garment industry may be forced to work 10-12 hours, 6-7 days per week with little to no break time for little to no pay at all.

USAgain said it looks forward to the two-fold purpose of the event. As with previous community initiatives in Oakland, including park clean ups and tree planting, efforts will make an immediate environmental impact in the area. According to data from Recyclebank, approximately 300 million pairs of shoes are sent to landfills annually. At the very least, a shoe found in a landfill takes 50 years to break down, and it’s often much longer than that (hundreds or thousands of years). Every shoe diverted from landfills reduces carbon emissions and prevents harmful chemical waste in the environment.

Organizers are hoping for a high turnout due to “Spring Cleaning” timing and are aiming to collect 3,000 pairs of shoes at this one-day shoe drive.

Antioch & USAgain Clean-up

Antioch clean up crew

On Saturday October 4th, USAgain partnered with the Antioch Police Department and twenty-five plus members in the community, to clean up the streets of Antioch, CA. The event began at 9:00am, in the Lowe’s parking lot, with the announcement of area to cover and a paper copy of the highlighted routes to stick to.  The crew was given neon vests, gloves, bags, and a trash grabbers as they split into groups, heading in different directions to cover roughly 9 blocks between Mahogany Way and Sycamore Drive. The event was complete by 11:00am and proved to be a very successful clean-up with great opportunities to exchange info and network.

USAgain and LOV Foundation bring day of fun and learning for California children

USAgain partnered with the League of Volunteers Foundation on July 24 for their annual Field Trip in the Park event at Civic Center Park in Newark, CA. The foundation provides six weeks of summer recreational fun for low and middle income families in the Tri-City area.

More than 400 children from the Tri-City area gathered for a day full of fun, games and prizes. The USAgain booth provided a bounce house, recycled children’s books and knowledge on what the company does as whole.

All attendees that spoke with USAgain staff were able to learn about textile recycling and see examples of textiles recycled into insulation and mattress padding.

All children in attendance were given a free recycled book, a “Clean Out Your Closet” flyer for their parents to read and snow cones for an after-lunch treat.