by Brandon Richard

Last September, Miami’s Gabriel Varona saw a homeless man searching the dumpster for a pair of shoes. When he jumped out of the dumpster, Varona noticed that he was wearing cardboard shoes held together by staples. Recognizing an opportunity to help someone in need, he took the shoes off his own feet and gave them to the homeless man.

Later that afternoon, Varona attended church, where his pastor spoke about using resources to help others. That was the moment that Shoes for Streets, his non-profit organization that provides footwear for the needy, was born.

Each week, Varona fills containers with donated sneakers in a variety of styles and sizes and personally passes them out to the homeless. He told CBS Miami that he receives about 800 pairs a week, using social media to spread the word. As of today, he has 13 drop off locations in South Miami.

An estimated 3,700 men, women and children are considered homeless in Miami-Dade County. For more information on how to help, visit

Gabriel Varona for Shoes for Streets
image via @shoesforstreets