The world's longest chain of shoes will be lined up across Stankowski Field on Saturday, setting out to break the Guinness World Record.
The event will be held in partnership with a shoe collecting project called Shoeman Water Projects.
According to its website, Shoeman Water Projects was founded in 1998 by George Hutchings. The organization collects donated shoes from the community and exports them to countries where affordable shoes are harder to come by. Then, the money from the resale of shoes will provide clean water for people who are suffering from water crises. Junior Daniel Wilhite is one of the student organizers who helped carry out the project at MU. Along with his classmates Jordan Bennett, Robert Drummond and Gray Stamulis, he organized the shoe drive event for their service learning project in a management class. Wilhite said they first learned of the Shoeman Water Projects from the Office of Service-Learning because the organization is new to MU and Columbia. “Shoeman really appealed to me,” he said. “It is really a unique opportunity because you have to set things on a global scale.” Shoeman Water Projects coordinator Karl Johnson, mostly referred to as “the Shoe Dude,” started the project at MU in fall 2010, Wilhite said. In six months, Johnson had collected more than 18,000 pairs of shoes from the donation boxes and church groups around the community. This Saturday on Stankowski Field, MU’s mascot, Truman the Tiger, will be on hand for the moment the record is broken, according to a news release. Wilhite said Hutchings, who often refers to himself as “The Shoeman,” came up with the idea of breaking the Guinness World Record. “We’re on target to break our goal of 30,000 pairs of shoes,” Johnson said in a news release. “To see that many shoes, end-to-end taking over Stankowski Field will be amazing, and a testimony to the caring, generous people of this area.” Wilhite said they are trying to bring the campus involved because it will be a great deal for a great time. “Students here get really involved,” he said. “Mizzou students like to give back, I think, more so than other campuses because we take pride in our community, and we enjoy doing it.” Whilhite said he expects to see those 30,000 pairs of shoes filling up two trucks. “Donate a pair of shoes or volunteer,” he said. “Anyone who can volunteer feel free to sign up through the Facebook group, its called ‘We Want Your Shoes!!’ Or just donate your shoes. That would be awesome.” Wearable pairs of shoes in all sizes are welcome, according to the news release. The shoe drop-off site is located in the Student Recreation Complex room 320, from 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, or from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. Saturday.
"The first big stop for the shoes is Miami,” Wilhite said. “Then they will be shipped to other places all around the world.”