KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With temperatures going down, needs are going up for people who are homeless. Several gyms in the Knoxville area are doing something about that by collecting gently used athletic shoes.

Eric, who is homeless, was able to replace his well-worn red slippers with a pair of red sneakers. It was just one of dozens and dozens of pairs of shoes collected by the Planet Fitness Maryville location, with bins set up by the Director of Operations for Planet Fitness Ohana Growth Partners, Andrew Poirier.

“What better way to help collect donations than have donation bins at Planet Fitness where our members can donate either their lightly used or even some new shoes, they ended up not liking,” Poirier said.

He decided to bring the shoes to Carecuts Ministry after learning about it through his children’s home-schooling program. Carecuts provides showers, haircuts, clothing and job resources. Donations like this make a big difference to the people they serve.

One by one, people like Jennifer Owenby came in, found a pair of shoes, and enjoyed trying them out.

Marti Baker, founder of Carecuts, said, “To be able to give them a pair of shoes so they don’t have blisters on their feet or holes in their shoes is an honor.”

It’s a blessing to be able to happily throw away the old pair of slippers and show gratitude to someone who took an idea and “ran” with it. Donation bins for gently used or new shoes are set up at four Planet Fitness locations:

  • Ohana Growth Partners (Planet Fitness)
    • 541 N. Foothills Plaza Dr., Maryville
    • 360 S. Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge
  • Ignite Fitness Holdings (Planet Fitness)
    • 11433 Kingston Pike, Farragut
      • 7530 Thunder Lane, Powell