Laced Up Family back on track


by Ethan Humble, Staff Reporter

Simpson senior, Ahmed Musa, the founder of shoe donation initiative Laced Up Family, is looking for donations again after COVID-19 stopped their distribution of shoes.

The shoe drive was founded in early January and has brought awareness to poverty issues since the first pair of laces was dropped off, however, the shoe drive was put on pause from June to mid-July when the pandemic struck.

“Due to COVID-19, our distribution of shoes was stopped, and places we donated to were not accepting anything during that time,” Musa said.

Musa’s Laced Up Family team also orchestrated without him for a couple of months over the summer while he took a trip to Sudan to drop off shoes and see family.

The group’s values have not changed one bit despite the hitches over the past few months.

“We experience a couple of setbacks, but we are back and trying to spread our message,” Musa said. “We are still trying to spread hope and poverty awareness.”

The shoes go to multiple locations around the area; these include the Central Iowa Shelter, Bethel Mission Center and Helping Hand Academy.

“We are also working on sending shoes to an orphanage next month,” he said. “We try to donate shoes to shelters and places where one may lack in footwear.”

Ahmed says the number of shoes he receives is vastly large, ranging from one pair of shoes all the way up to 20.

“We receive a lot of shoes throughout the week, and we clean and donate each one,” Musa said. “We are currently partnered with Urban Dreams, so we now have a drop off location for them.”

Musa has received plenty of support from fellow students and faculty here at Simpson to encourage him on his successful shoe drive.

Assistant professor of management, John Walker, says that Musa has found a way to positively change not only the Des Moines areas but the world.

“[This sneaker drive] shows that one person can effect positive change in the world. Ahmed is doing this through daily connections and conversations,” Walker said.

Senior Enrique Idehen challenges Simpson students to make sure they can find a way to help Musa’s efforts in making the drive work.

“Organizations like Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Pi Beta Phi are just some of the campus groups that have donated, and I challenge others to donate too,” he said. “If we do not look after those in need during a time of need, who else will?”

Professor of management, Marilyn Mueller, says that Musa’s project is only the beginning of his entrepreneurial path.

“Ahmed’s work shows that students who are interested in creating both for-profit and non-profit organizations have a supportive space in the Edwards Entrepreneurship Center at Simpson College,” Mueller said.

Laced Up Family is accepting new or good conditioned sneakers and shoes, and no donation is too big or too small. Be sure to follow their Instagram account @lacedupfamily and Facebook account Laced Up Family.