A shoe cleaning company for high-end sneakers might say that the people who benefit most from their services are those for whom a brand new pair of sneakers is out of reach.
Christian Prescott, a man from South Auckland, was an apprentice plumber with an entrepreneurial spirit when he set up his first business, Sneaker Clean NZ, aged 19.
From this venture emerged Clean For A Cause, a charity that collects and donates pre-loved shoes to children in need.
Right now, the team at its Māngere warehouse is gearing up for a big giveaway event, which will result in hundreds of luxury branded sneakers being donated to Auckland’s tamariki.
* Young plumber Christian Prescott is New Zealand’s first professional sneaker cleaner
* Manawatū charity donates over 12,000 sporting goods
* Reebok’s next sneaker will be made from corn
The plumber’s apprentice also worked part-time at a Timberland store, where Prescott recognized a gap in the market for a shoe cleaning service. He was quick to take care of the “investment shoes” of a clientele worth thousands of dollars.
However, when Covid hit the South Auckland community in Prescott, he knew he had to step up and the Clean For A Cause initiative was born.
Wanting to use his skills to help his community, Prescott knew there were kids going to school without shoes and realized he could make a difference through his business. He thinks Clean For A Cause not only helps children, but also relieves their parents.
By giving donated shoes a top-notch cleaning and repackaging them in custom-made shoeboxes, the organization also gives children confidence, Prescott says.
“We all love the feeling of opening a new box of shoes. But for some kids, our boxes will be the very first ‘new’ pair they’ve ever received.”
However, not all donated pairs go home with children. Shoes are categorized into four “levels”, with only level one quality shoes being passed on to children. Shoes at this level often start at $200.
“We provide good quality shoes, so kids feel valued,” says Prescott.
However, all donated shoes find a home, with lower-tier shoes going to sports teams and other small initiatives, Prescott says.
As well as helping those in need, Prescott says Clean For A Cause was a response to the climate crisis, with the crew saving shoes from landfills to give them a second life.
A child of the Māngere community and a proud Tongan, Prescott says his upbringing explains his spirit of service and he encourages those who can to participate in their own communities.
“Compassion and unity are at the forefront of this campaign. By bringing together our skills and the good grace of the community, we put shoes on the feet of those who need them.
Prescott clearly remembers his mother telling him, “If you want something, then you have to work hard to get it.” His ultimate goal is to work full-time for the charity, he says.
While government assistance wouldn’t be wasted, Prescott emphasizes that it’s community involvement that he advocates, inviting those who can afford to contribute to the sneaker donation event.
The team accepts all shoes in wearable condition, regardless of size. If you are unsure of a shoe, contact Clean For A Cause to clarify.
To acquire the shoes donated by the community and the list of children in need, Clean For A Cause organizes great charity events four times a year.
The next Outsole sneaker donation event will take place at the Vodafone Events Center in Manukau on June 11. The festival will feature giveaways, food stalls, music and other events, as well as the ability to buy, sell and trade sneakers.